In 1992 when Erin Lynam, President and co-owner of the Atlantic Reinforcing Concrete Company, headquartered in Deer Park, New York, graduated from Briarcliff College in Patchogue, New York with a degree in business administration, the notion of a woman-owned business providing reinforced concrete subcontracting services to the construction industry was a bit of a stretch. Indeed, it might have seemed to be an impossible dream, if anyone even considered it at all.
So instead of considering it upon graduation, Lynam found employment with the Flynn Hill Elevator Corporation in Long Island, Mutual of America Life Insurance, and JPMorgan Chase for the next 14 years.
But as the 21st century dawned, perceptions of what was possible in the construction industry were slowly undergoing a paradigm shift into a new reality, one where women’s and men’s careers would eventually no longer be defined by stereotypes.
According to Rebecca Winke’s 10 Women-Owned Businesses in the Construction Industry for Family Handyman, “About 13 percent of construction-related companies are owned by women, a 64 percent jump between 2014 and 2019, which reflects a significant jump in the industry.”
She goes on to note that in a traditionally male-dominated industry, the field is increasingly opening up to women owners and CEOs, and quotes figures from the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) that indicate women make up around 10 percent of the industry overall, with a significant increase in the number of woman-owned enterprises in the last decade.
But back in 2006 the notion of women owning such a business, as opposed to working for one, was still a novel idea, one that hadn’t quite taken off, as it appears to have done by 2014.
That, however, didn’t stop Erin Lynam and her business partner, Andrea Lynam, from taking the bold step of forming the Atlantic Concrete Reinforcing Company, which works with general contractors, private owners, and public agencies, specializing in concrete reinforcement for bridges, tunnels, and foundations throughout the greater Metropolitan New York area, Westchester County, and Long Island as a WBE Certified Subcontractor.
The company’s beginnings were relatively humble. In March of 2006, the staff consisted of just one supervisor and a few workers installing rebar on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. But in its first ten years of operation, according to the company website, it grew to include 100 employees spanning 30 major jobs and placing approximately 40,000 tons of rebar for projects throughout the New York Metropolitan area. Since then, it has continued to grow, earning respect from general contractors who bring repeat business to the company, knowing they can depend on the team to meet schedule deadlines.
That’s something the Lynams are justifiably proud of, alongside the fact that the business is WBE Certified with a number of agencies, including the Empire State Development Corp, NYC Small Business Services, the NYC School Construction Board, and the counties of Nassau and Suffolk.
Since the company’s inception, it has been a member of the General Contractors Association and a proud supporter of local construction unions, including Metal Lathers Local 46, NY Laborers Local 731, The Cement and Concrete Workers Local 18A & 20, and the Local 147 Sandhogs. The company readily acknowledges that “without the hardworking men and women of our unions, we would not have reached the level of success we have today.”
Atlantic Reinforcing Concrete is a full-service rebar company, specializing in bending and installing concrete reinforcing material. The company maintains an in-house threading facility that can service all of a client’s mechanical coupler needs; can act as supplier for general contractors, thereby streamlining the ordering process; and has its own fleet of trucks to deliver products directly to the job site.
When the steel companies cannot make the delivery on time, “our trucks can, so our customers can meet their deadlines,” says the company’s website. “We take pride in this, as we always strive to complete projects in a scheduled timeframe and within budget constraints.”
Each one of Atlantic Reinforcing Concrete’s major infrastructure projects is unique, incredibly complex, and critical, since literally hundreds of lives, at any given time, depend on them meeting and exceeding the highest safety standards. A few examples of the many projects on which the company has worked include the patient pavilion of the Good Samaritan Hospital, the station upgrades of the Flushing Street Main Station, and the TN-49 Bridge Deck Replacement.
The highly travelled Unionport Bridge, which sees between 50,000 and 60,000 vehicles crossing it daily, is a key element in the Bronx roadway system. It operates on a bascule (a moveable bridge) to allow commercial waterway traffic safe passage, while connecting local streets with major thoroughfares such as the Bruckner Expressway, the Cross Bronx Expressway, and the Hutchinson River Parkway.
By 2016, the bridge, built in 1953, had deteriorated and was deemed to be in dire need of a replacement. The complex $232 million replacement project was designed by EnTech Engineering to be built in 10 stages over a 48-month period and completed by mid-2021. The construction contract was awarded to Lane Construction and Schiavone Construction, who began work in 2017, according to bridgeweb.com.
Atlantic Reinforcing Concrete’s portion of the work included fabrication and installation of the concrete reinforcing materials for the 18 columns that support the bridge across the Bruckner Expressway. They were manufactured from epoxy-coated #14 vertical rebar that are 72 feet in length. They are held together with #7 epoxy-coated five-foot continuous spirals that are tied at four inches on center.
These critically important columns were fabricated in the company’s spacious home yard at Deer Park. They were then delivered to the work site by the company’s own fleet of trucks where, despite the site constraints due to some very tight spaces, they were successfully installed. This project is but one example of the company’s dedication to meeting diverse client needs. As the team describes on their website, “With hard work and a skilled work force we are able to consistently meet deadlines and fulfill the needs our customers.”