Where Superstructures Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Roger & Sons Concrete Inc.
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Headquartered in New York, Roger & Sons Concrete Inc. has a long, rich history of quality work. As a trusted name in concrete superstructure construction, it is in part responsible for some truly iconic buildings that dot the Manhattan skyline.

With projects like Tower Four of the World Trade Center, like JP Morgan’s new headquarters, like a two million-square-foot project located north of Grand Central Station, and like 425 Park Avenue, a gorgeous retrofit and tower rebuild, its portfolio is impressive but represents only a fraction of its expertise.

Growth and evolution
Over more than four decades, Roger & Sons has grown significantly, evolving from small projects like house foundations, small commercial jobs, and curb and sidewalk projects to the behemoth the company is chosen for today.

“We’ve come a long way since curbs and sidewalks,” says Peter Rodrigues, Executive Project Manager and a third-generation company leader at Roger & Sons. This is because the company has developed the technical skill and experience to take on the most challenging projects.

The problem is, Roger & Sons has been a victim of its own success. An admiring industry has assigned it a niche that leverages only a portion of its formidable, diverse construction skills: superstructures. So, as the market changes, so must the company’s strategy.

With the current superstructure market in New York tepid to cool, the company is seizing the chance to expand its expertise into other parts of the Tri-State area and as far south as South Florida, one of the hottest markets in the U.S., where it has already, on occasions, executed successful projects over the years.

To ensure the same level of quality and service from the company outside of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, Roger & Sons has put in place a system to secure high-caliber talent to deliver projects with the standards of quality, safety, and performance that its clients have come to expect.

“It was a new market, so we had to bring our managers down there initially to manage our workers and help train local workers in our ways of doing things,” Rodrigues says. This has been a big part of the company’s success in this new market, he adds. And this is how it has to be, as there is a lot at stake.

A family business
Founded by Ocacio “Roger” Rodrigues, Roger & Sons has decades of experience that span generations. Roger operated the company with his three sons Manny, Tony, and Joe, and today, it remains in the hands of the Rodrigues family under the leadership of Roger’s grandchildren.

“The three sons took it over first and now there are three cousins that are involved, one from each father, and we’re in effect running the business,” Rodrigues says. The cousins continue to guide the company by the family values passed down to them.

When asked what the secret to Roger & Sons’ longevity and success has been, Rodrigues suggests that it’s the company’s integrity and focus on relationship building that has made it a leader in its market for so long. And that attitude still delivers.

“We’re known for high quality and on-time services but I’d like to think that we’re very client-friendly, that we take into consideration our clients’ wishes and take them to heart when we execute,” he shares.

Roger & Sons is also committed to investing in the future. The contractor has adopted cutting-edge technology in-house and on-site to ensure that it supports internal growth, as well as growth in the projects it undertakes.

There is also awareness of the environment and the huge impact that construction projects of “superstructure” magnitude can have, particularly in a place like Manhattan. Roger & Sons implements proprietary concrete washout procedures which prevent construction waste from entering drainage systems and enables it to recycle much of the waste generated on its sites.

For Roger & Sons, there is a lot at stake. When it’s your family’s name, history, and reputation on the line, a job done well means much more than just satisfying clients and meeting expectations, it’s your family’s legacy at stake.

Safety and quality
Guaranteeing the quality and the safety of a job is an inherent part of the projects delivered by Roger & Sons. While statutory and in-house training take place, steps to safety and quality are not as rigidly procedural as one would expect; rather, it is a soft approach that produces measurable results.

Quite obvious is the quiet sense of pride not only in a job done well but also in a culture that buys into that collective success. This helps to reinforce a personal level of safety for the collective good of all at Roger & Sons.

“It’s more about an installation of pride in their own work, so making sure that workers take pride in what they are doing. They know that they are part of something bigger and that everything is leading toward the same goal,” Rodrigues says.

“You could read a guy a checklist a thousand times on how to do something, but if he doesn’t care about what he’s doing it won’t matter. So, it’s about making sure the guys care about what they are doing and understanding that there’s a bigger picture and a goal that the entire company is heading toward.” The goal is to make sure the team at Roger & Sons works safely to ensure its members can happily go home to their families each day.

Expanding for the future
Diversity is key to Roger & Sons’ future: from a market standpoint—in terms of its broad capabilities and its impressive portfolio—and as a minority business enterprise. To keep the family business strong and in demand, all of these aspects of the business must be utilized fully and wisely.

“The short-term goal is ensuring there is a long-term. The market is pretty dismal out there, especially for a union concrete contractor in Manhattan, so long-term we’re looking to broaden our market base into different market segments outside Manhattan,” says Rodrigues.

One of the main challenges, he notes, is that “it’s difficult to convince people who think you are one way to think that you are another.” His resolve is to lead clients to take advantage of the company’s broad capabilities across its expanded footprint, and beyond just the superstructures it’s been doing for most of the last fifteen years.

Simply put, spectacular superstructures have set the tone for the kind of work Roger & Sons produces, making foundations and civil work a breeze in comparison. That’s the kind of confidence you want in a contractor. As Rodrigues says, “We’re capable of doing it all,” and doing it all well.

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