Brooklyn-Based United Industries Join Forces to Chase the 'American Dream'
Antonio Morales and Aldo Malomo met in 2008 on a jobsite in Brooklyn when their companies were part of the same project. Morales was finishing excavating for the site and Malomo was preparing for the concrete work.
"I guess you could say it was love-at-first-sight," joked Morales, who is the company's President. "My business offered demolition and excavation, and Aldo was with a concrete company. We worked well together, and became quick friends."
Eventually the pair decided to start United Industries and maximize their offerings.
"The trend at the time was for general contractors to hire separate sub-contractors for each phase, but we thought if we joined forces, we could offer a more complete package," continued Operations Manager Malomo. "The decision paid off well."
Today, United Industries employs 50 people and handles several contracts at a time, typically in the $1 million to $10 million range. To manage those projects throughout the five boroughs, the company emphasizes the importance of assembling the best team possible.
That team mentality is one of the pillars of United Industries' success. The duo looks at the company like a football team; each employee is a player with a defined role.
"Aldo is our Eli Manning, and I am the coach hoping to guide him to the Super Bowl," said Morales. "But to win a championship, you need good players everywhere. One thing we try to do is hire the right people. Recruit, train, pay them well and let them do their jobs. Fortunately, we've been able to do that."
Some of United Industries' most highly touted "recruits" are Project Managers Mike Richman and Peter McBride, Superintendent Claudio Cappello, Foreman/Supervisor Ken Gori and Office Manager/Senior Estimator Amanda Payne.
"Mike, Peter, Claudio, Ken and Amanda really set the bar for us," explained Malomo. "They aren't here to punch a clock and get a check. They care about this company and are role-models for everyone. When you have employees who care as much as they do, you're going to be successful."
Morales and Malomo teamed up with the hope that their array of services would make United Industries appealing to clients. One prominent New York affordable-housing contractor saw the value in the partnership and hired United industries to excavate and install foundations for a major residential job.
"It's a 30,000-square-foot, five-phase project," described Malomo. "We are currently on the second phase, which is a five-story building with 140 apartments in West Farms."
United Industries excavated more than 10,000 yards of solid rock before construction could begin.
"The site was located on a ledge, so we had to do some serious work to get through the rock," noted Malomo. "We just banged away at it for four months until we got deep enough to complete the 20-foot foundations."
The jobsite also required United Industries to collaborate with archeologists to safely and appropriately exhume 60 grave sites that were nearly 200 years old.
"It was a very interesting process," recalled Malomo. "We did 6-inch lifts under the archeologists' supervision. It was important to us to do it the right way. The unexpected is common in this line of work. When it happens, we re-adjust our plans accordingly and do whatever we can to get the job done and done right."
Just as Morales and Malomo expect a certain level of trust and loyalty from their employees, they also count on it from their equipment dealer. During the recession, some distributors were reluctant to conduct business with the small company that had just formed, but Ehrbar and Sales Representative Steve Gambutti stepped up to the plate.
"We weren't getting much help from many distributors during that time," said Malomo. "The one person who had faith in us was Steve. He helped us rent Komatsu equipment while we were trying to stay afloat. Steve, Ehrbar and Komatsu Financial were crucial to us then. Now that we're back on our feet, we're sticking with them."
United Industries has four Komatsu excavators: a PC35MR, PC88MR, PC210LC-11 and a PC390LC. The mix of smaller, tight-tail-swing excavators and larger construction excavators enables the company to handle a wide range of complex projects.
"With the small excavator we're able to work in some tight spaces without giving up too much power," said Foreman/Supervisor Ken Gori. "The PC35MR is our go-to machine. It's maneuverable and we are still able to handle steel beams and forms easily."
Morales says Komatsu CARE, which provides complimentary services for the first three years or 2,000 hours, and KOMTRAX, Komatsu's telematics system, also provide great value for the company.
"Our downtime has decreased dramatically with KOMTRAX," Morales reported. "When we do have an issue, Ehrbar can get it diagnosed right away. If service techs come out to work on a machine, they already know what's wrong with it before they leave the shop. They are fixing the problem before they get here.
"Komatsu CARE is great because we don't have to worry about scheduling any maintenance for the first 2,000 hours," he added. "It keeps our machines running well and takes one more thing off of our plate.
"We have a great relationship with Komatsu and Ehrbar," said Morales. "We know we can trust them, and that means a lot to us."
Chasing the Dream
In many ways, United Industries epitomizes the American Dream. Morales, whose father is from Puerto Rico and his mother from Sicily, served in the U.S. Navy on the battleship Wisconsin during the Persian Gulf War. After leaving the service and working in the sanitation industry, he decided to start his own business in 2007 and teamed up with Malomo shortly thereafter. Malomo was born in the Bronx to Italian parents and raised in Uruguay. He returned to America when he was 18 and began a career in the construction industry.
"I woke up one morning and decided to chase the American Dream," said Morales. "I'd still be chasing it if I hadn't teamed up with Aldo. I would have a small demolition business, and I'd probably be struggling. Together, we have been able to do a lot for our customers, and we're proud of that."
The duo's unique backgrounds have also helped United Industries become certified as a Minority Business Enterprise, Small Business Enterprise, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and a Veteran-Owned Small Business in New York state.
"Having these certificates has been very positive for us," proclaimed Morales. "They allowed us to be competitive in the private sector when we were starting out, and the economy wasn't great. They helped us to get in the door and prove what we could do."
United Industries has made the most of its opportunities to deliver, and it has grown nearly 10 percent each year. It's a trend that Morales and Malomo hope will continue.
"We thank God for what we have," said Morales. "We want to continue to grow, but at a rate that we can handle and at times when it makes sense. We don't want to do anything too fast and sacrifice quality. There's an old Sicilian saying: "˜He who goes slow, goes far, and gets there in one piece.' That's our mentality, and it's worked."