A Family Company Committed to Safety and the Environment

J.R. Vinagro Corporation
Written by Claire Suttles

Based in Johnston, Rhode Island, J.R. Vinagro is one of the largest independently-owned and operated demolition, recycling, and crushing companies in New England. The team operates 150 trucks daily and maintains an extensive inventory of heavy construction and demolition equipment to take on some of the region’s highest profile, most demanding demolition projects.
The family-owned business handles every aspect of these projects, from facility decontamination and onsite rock crushing to offsite waste hauling for recycling, decontamination, and disposal.

The company’s industry experts develop and implement decontamination and demolition plans that are specially designed to fit each project’s unique needs. “We collaborate with our customer to help them achieve their most important objectives,” says Safety Director Matt Leonard. In addition to being customer-centric, safety and the environment are at the heart of every plan the team develops. All of the company’s waste management programs and material tracking systems comply with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED requirements for project certification.

A family company
Family ownership has had a lasting impact on the company culture. “The evolution of our business reflects, above all, the experience and values of the Vinagro family,” Mr. Leonard remarks. “As a family‐owned business, J.R. Vinagro offers distinctive benefits to employees and customers. We embrace strong traditions and deeply rooted family values. The Vinagro family cares more about the long-term value of the brand and creating a sustainable legacy.”

These family values translate into superior customer care and a deep loyalty to staff members. “J.R. Vinagro has a strong commitment to quality service, but an even stronger commitment and deep compassion for the care and concern of our employees,” says Mr. Leonard. “It is a culture dedicated to employee engagement and the promise of delivering outstanding customer service. It is a culture in which the expectation is that every employee feels a genuine sense of belonging and a genuine sense of fulfillment for their contributions.”

President Joseph Vinagro’s commitment disseminates throughout the company and motivates employees to match his level of dedication. “We are successful because the owner of the company is 100 percent hands-on and is dedicated to strengthening and growing the company,” Mr. Steven R. Lombardi, who is in charge of the company’s Crushing Operations. “The management team has also put together a strong group of employees who work together and care about the company as if it was their own.”

Safety first
The demolition and crushing business comes with inherent dangers, so safety always comes first at J.R. Vinagro. “J. R. Vinagro Corporation’s dedication to safety is the core value of our company and reflects the fundamental respect we have for our employees, equipment, clients, the public and the environment,” says Mr. Leonard. “We aim to exceed the industry standards for health and safety and maintain our corporate goal of ZERO accidents, injuries, or illnesses.”

The company’s commitment to safety begins before the job even starts. “We conduct our activities in a responsible manner to protect our employees, the public and the environment by collaborating and planning for every task prior to starting any job,” Mr. Leonard shares. The team develops a Job Hazards Analysis (JHA) and a site-specific Safety Plan to fully prepare workers before launching a project. To ensure safety throughout the job, the company expects employee involvement, subcontractor participation, and management commitment, as well as workplace hazard analysis, hazard prevention and control, and behavior‐based safety and health training.

The company’s Health and Safety program receives ongoing updates to keep it relevant and effective. “The program is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of our clients and the industry,” Mr. Leonard reports. A full time Corporate Health and Safety Director and staff manage the Health and Safety program. “We have a great team of safety leaders that instill proper training to our supervisors and employees,” Mr. Lombardi shares. “Safety is always our number one challenge as it is important for everyone to go home safe at the end of the day. The demolition and recycling business raises a lot of hazards and obstacles for our employees.”

J.R. Vinagro created a Safety Committee that meets weekly to discusses safety issues and develop solutions. The committee seeks feedback from the company’s supervisors so that the team can make improvements to a job plan on a day-to-day basis. “We have seen major results since this committee has been established,” Project Manager Joseph Pasquerella reports.

The team understands that equipment plays an important role in safety as well. The latest, leading edge technology reduces risk, as do well-maintained machines. “J.R. Vinagro continues to invest in the latest state of the art equipment to provide our employees the best and safest technology, equipment and strategies with every task of the job,” says Mr. Leonard.

J.R. Vinagro performs abatement work, which requires special certification and training to ensure safety. “[The company] has the capabilities to perform in-house abatement, with properly certified and continuously trained personnel,” Mr. Pasquerella reports. “With continuously more stringent regulation requirements, the company must always stay on top of these new requirements and make sure adjustments are made to comply. Our safety department/committee conducts extensive training on a regular basis to keep employees’ training up to, and beyond, industry standards.”

Going green
J.R. Vinagro is an environmentally friendly company. “There is no better feeling than being an organization that is improving and protecting our environment,” Mr. Leonard attests. “The Vinagro roots are in farming; therefore, we know firsthand the importance of a clean and healthy environment for anything to grow.”

The company owns and operates a fully licensed C & D processing and transfer facility with an extremely high recycling rate for the industry. “Our transfer station is a big part of our environmentally friendly approach,” says Dana Zewsinki, the company’s Environmental Engineer. “We take our demo back to the plant and put all salvageable materials to good use. We also crush all the concrete to spec material to be used as backfill and road base and supply material to many construction projects across the region. We also offer waste management plans and recycling reports for projects seeking LEED certification. Our customers include some of the largest general contractors in the Northeast.”

By turning waste into a resource, the company’s innovative recycling practices make a positive impact every day. J .R. Vinagro’s C & D Recycling Facility processes a whopping 3.6 million pounds of Construction and Demolition debris daily. 86 percent of this debris is recycled and diverted from landfilling. “Our efforts prevent over 712 million pounds of C & D material from entering landfills each year,” Mr. Zewinski reports. J.R. Vinagro’s ABC Recycling Facility processes an additional two billion pounds of asphalt, brick and concrete debris yearly—100 percent of which is repurposed and sold to customers.

Land Clearing is the latest division to become part of the J.R. Vinagro Team. Equipped to perform both small and large scale forestry projects, this operation has the capability of producing a multitude of end products, from firewood to wood chips to mulch, based on the needs of the company. None of the resources harvested by the land clearing division are wasted. The less acceptable parts of the process such as bark, tree tops and stumps are chipped and delivered to a wood gasification plant to generate electricity. Even topsoil associated with the root systems is reclaimed and reused. “This division has created a whole new avenue of work for the company that is credit to the foresight of the owner,” states Brian Palombo, head of the Land Clearing Division. This division is quickly expanding and becoming a valuable resource to the company and clients alike.

Looking ahead
The team expects work to continue to pick up in the near future. President and Owner Joseph R. Vinagro predicts growth will be driven largely by an increase in bridge construction and the continued redevelopment of urban areas as well as the hard work and dedication of his team. “Our people are our most valuable resource and have helped drive the success of this company throughout the years. Their commitment is truly appreciated and is what makes this company great.”

Mr. Pasquerella adds, “I believe the company will continue to grow, but more importantly I believe the company will become even more streamlined, efficient and prosperous. From the owner down, we all want to be the best we can be.”

The company is investing in technology, equipment, and its employees to prepare for the active, growth-focused future that its leaders foresee. “I feel our company will continue to grow in all of our divisions,” Mr. Lombardi summarizes. “Our owner sets the bar high with leadership and provides us with the best equipment and materials to get the job done. With dedication like that, the sky is the limit for our company.”



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