David Furino, President of Furino & Sons, Inc., a nearly-century-old construction and contracting firm in Branchburg, New Jersey, attributes the company’s success to being “a tightly held family business,” that adheres to a slow growth model. “We strive to achieve slow continuous growth over time. In the early 2000s, you had a lot of companies that were falling by the wayside and going out of business. We had strong, steady growth through the downturned economy.”
The company was founded in 1925 by Furino’s grandfather, John Furino. Furino & Sons was originally located in Plainfield, New Jersey and initially concentrated on “site work, drainage and paving,” says Furino.
When the company’s founder, John Furino, departed, his four sons – including Thomas Furino, current Chief Executive Officer, took over. “The four sons had to look to other industries because there was not enough site excavation and paving work to support everyone,” explains David Furino.
The company expanded under the direction of the founder’s sons and remains a family-run business today. Thomas Furino – CEO, his son, David Furino – President and his nephew, Randy Furino, who serves as Vice President are continuing the business model and growth. The family run business credits its success on each family member managing different business segments to provide diversity in a challenging economic world.
The firm moved to Branchburg, NJ from Plainfield in November of 2010. “With the growth of the company, we found that we needed a larger facility,” according to Furino.
Today, the firm specializes in heavy construction, general contracting, mechanical process piping and maintenance work. Furino & Sons has worked for a wide range of industries, including petroleum refining, processing, medical, commercial, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, education, industrial, solar, retail and wholesale. The company has been extremely busy of late, thanks to heavy spending on infrastructure improvements in its home state.
In recent years “our main focus has been on infrastructure work in New Jersey – mostly heavy industrial,” says Furino. “We’ve focused mostly on the electrical upgrades presently being implemented in New Jersey. This was supplemented with work in the refinery, pharmaceutical, corporate business parks, utilities and solar industries.”
Clients are a mixture of private businesses and public-sector organizations for whom the firm provides excavation, mechanical installation, process piping, plant maintenance, structural steel erection, structural concrete, demolition, solar, masonry and more. “More recent, the company has seen an increase in the installation of precast buildings and tilt-up construction,” adds Furino.
Furino & Sons prides themselves on their ability to self-perform a majority of their work. “Probably one of our best attributes is that about eighty percent of our work is self-performed,” he states. “While we self-perform the majority of our work, we subcontract the specialty work out. Some of the specialties would include paving, roofing, HVAC, insulation, and electrical.”
Another key aspect of the company’s operations is its employees. The company currently has 360 employees. Furino believes that quality employees are key to their success. Furino & Sons employs union trades. “We’re a one hundred percent union shop. All of our sub-contractors will also be union,” says Furino. “Dealing with a union workforce offers quite a few benefits. For a start, workers will be qualified and have proper industry certification and training. “
Furino & Sons has other prerequisites in mind when making new hires. “We’re looking for someone with attention to detail, who is a hard worker, honest and willing to learn,” says Furino. This fits in with the company’s overall culture, which centers on “honesty and working as a team,” he adds. “The firm also recently attended an open house at the Stevens Institute of Technology, based in Hoboken, New Jersey. The institute has a top-ranked engineering school. We are constantly looking for bright, young workers to prepare our company for long-term growth. We are fortunate that New Jersey has a good pool of talented resources to supply adequate labor for our projects. Looking to the future, New Jersey has many quality universities, vocational schools, institutions and union apprenticeship programs to prepare individuals for our future workforce.”
It is the same with suppliers. Furino & Sons wants to maintain “a good honest relationship… with our concrete suppliers, our steel suppliers and our subcontractors. We want to build a working partnership with our suppliers,” Furino says. “Together, everyone is successful.”
Keeping the firm’s workers safe is a major preoccupation, and safety “is our number one focus. We have a slogan – my father came up with in the early 1980s – ‘Safety, Quality, Productivity.’ [My father] wanted [his employees] to have a safe job. Employees come in healthy, go home healthy. The customer gets a quality job, and we are productive,” says Furino.
The firm has a full-time safety director who oversees a team of safety personnel. There are regular meetings where new procedures, safety issues and incidents are discussed. “If procedures change or someone has a near-miss, we’ll bring it up in the meetings,” says Furino, adding that, at present, the company’s experience modification rate (EMR) is .423. “Safety is everyone’s job and our EMR is reflective of every employee’s commitment to our program.”
Furino & Sons’ will almost certainly have a heavy workload for some time to come. “With the infrastructure work in New Jersey right now, the meetings I’ve attended lately [the word is] there will be a minimum of ten to fifteen years more at the pace we are right now. In New Jersey, there’s no slowdown,” states Furino.