Adapting With the Times Keeps Stamford Firm Thriving

Fri August 17, 2012 - Northeast Edition
Jay Adams


Cavaliere’s newest project, acting as a sub-contractor, is paving as part of renovations and revitalizations at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.
Cavaliere’s newest project, acting as a sub-contractor, is paving as part of renovations and revitalizations at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.
Cavaliere’s newest project, acting as a sub-contractor, is paving as part of renovations and revitalizations at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Cavaliere Industries’ equipment yard in Stamford, Conn. Lou Cavaliere, one of the current owners of the 57-year-old family business. Slab pour at the Waterside power plant. Concrete recycling at the Chelsea Piers project site.

Eight years after the World Trade Center attacks, Cavaliere Onsite Recycling, a division of Cavaliere Industries, Stamford, Conn., used its Rubble Master recyclers to recycle the concrete buildings, which was then deposited and compacted right on the Ground Zero site.

Cavalier used a Rubble Master RM70GO and RM80 to process the concrete slabs taken down at the Deutche Bank, floor by floor, a project that took three years.

“The finished product needed to be a 1.5-inch minus. It was used to fill the building foundation. All concrete from the 47-story building was recycled right on site.” said Lou Cavaliere, Cavaliere Industries, Stamford, Conn.

These demanding times — fewer road and buildings projects, higher costs of materials and fuel, fierce competition locally and regionally, and the pressure to meet ever higher environmental standards — has led Cavaliere into a new family ownership generation that regenerates for others.

Cavaliere Industries and its divisions has a third generation on board and has geared its business toward recycling, looking ever forward, especially through difficult construction periods. According to Lou, and brother DJ Cavaliere, some 85 percent of the company’s income is now generated from mobile recycling of concrete and asphalt waste, while its other divisions still work on major contracting projects like paving around the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.

“Surviving the economic climate has led us into the recycling business. The push to go ’Green’ and ’reduce, reuse, recycle’ has opened doors for us that required us to add a full-time staff of three,” said Lou Cavaliere. “The excavating and milling business stays productive for our workmanship, quality and performance, while still meeting our customers’ needs and concerns.”

Changing With the Times

Founded in 1955, Cavaliere Industries Inc. grew from a four-person operation to 15 to 30 employees currently, depending on the season.

Dominick Cavaliere Sr., one of the original founders, has since retired and his sons, Lou and DJ Cavaliere, are now in charge of daily operations.

Beyond excavating and asphalt paving, “We have expanded into the on-site recycling of rubble — asphalt, concrete, cement block and brick,” said Lou Cavaliere from his headquarters in the company’s state-of-the-art office and repair facility at 226 Selleck St., Stamford.

Over the past few years, Cavaliere Industries has added a John Deere 50 mini-excavator, new soil screeners and a LeeBoy 8816 asphalt paver to meet the requests of customers for expanded services. In 2004, Cavaliere Industries proudly introduced Cavaliere Onsite Recycling, which has the capability to recycle rock, concrete, asphalt, block and brick into a useable .75-in. (1.9 cm) minus product, as it did at the Ground Zero site.

Cavaliere Industries Inc. is still a leading milling contractor in the New England area, serving Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

“For Cavaliere Industries Inc., we run Freightliner, Kenworth and Mack tractors with low beds. John Deere loaders, backhoes, excavators. Bobcat skid steers. Wirtgen milling machines, and Rubble Master Recyclers and screeners” added Cavaliere. “For Cavaliere Onsite Recycling we operate Rubble Master Products exclusively.

There also is a third generation employee in the fold now, when home from The University of Massachusetts. At the end of this calendar year, Joe Cavaliere graduates from the University of Massachusetts School of Natural Resource Conservation. Cavaliere Industries hopes to add Joe to the ranks full time after that.

“We do have other long-term employees. Billy Ackerson has been with us for 22 years, Mainor Palencia for 16 years, and Buddy Frank and others have five years or more of service,” said Lou Cavaliere.

“We will keep on growing gradually. Our sales have always increased. We do not want to grow too fast,” said DJ Cavaliere. “We have seen many companies fail because of this. You can have all the jobs, but if you are not profitable, you are not growing.

Important Projects

The brothers say you last for 57 years in their industry through good times and lean times by providing quality service and performance from a small one-day job to a multi-month project.

Some of the company’s important milling projects over the decades have included the “Q” bridge in New Haven, Conn.; the Holland Tunnel Project in Manhattan; Logan Airport in Boston, Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.; and the famous Memorial Parkway in Cambridge. They also have done reclaiming for the Royal Bank of Scotland, and excavation work for Walgreens in New Canaan, Conn.; for United Rentals facility, both with complete demolition of existing structures; Manarees Island Power Plant and the Waterside power plant. In total, the company has more than 50 pieces of equipment — consisting of trucks, excavators, loaders, rollers, crushers, etc. and support equipment.

“Another project that was just completed was Chelsea Piers, a 400,000-square-foot facility in Stamford. It will sit inside what is currently one of the largest industrial re-use sites in the area, a 33-acre office and manufacturing complex that once belonged to the hair products company Clairol,” said Lou Cavaliere. “For this project, we had our Rubble Master Recycler there, onsite, recycling the concrete that we had removed from the ground so the swimming pools and ice rinks can be installed. About 7,000 tons of reinforced concrete was saw cut, removed and recycled into three use-able aggregate products. An estimated 80 percent of the recycled aggregate was sold back to the project and re-used onsite.”

Cavaliere’s newest project as a sub-contractor is paving as part of renovations and revitalizations at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx is a particularly interesting site. And there is one special challenge.

“Work can only be done on Mondays when the Gardens are closed,” said Lou Cavaliere.

Four men from Cavaliere Industries are onsite working with the prime contractor, laying down 300 tons (272 t) of asphalt per day on the roads.

Other projects are no less beautiful and offer a different kind of challenge.

“We sometimes work for Remote broadcasting on movie and TV series production sets, supplying water trucks for rain or snow simulation,” Lou Cavaliere added.

The Salvation Army site improvements, Stamford, Conn., that Cavalier worked on consisted of new storm drainage system with associated trench drains and piping. Removal of existing parking lot and sub-base. New parking lot sighting and concrete walks and ramps. Install new reprocess aggregate base and two courses of asphalt and asphalt curbing, as well as decorative Ameristar fencing and master Halco coated fencing with a professional basketball hoop and backboard.

“All work had to be done with the building being open for business and having religious services on Sundays. All material removed from the parking area was recycled and used as reprocess base for new parking area,” said Lou Cavaliere.

Current Projects

• Dominican College, Orangeburg, N.Y.: Parking lot improvements consisting of 60,000 sq. ft. (5,574 sq m) of in-place reclaiming of existing asphalt and mixing with existing base material. Excavation of 750 linear ft. (228 m) on new conduit for new parking lot lighting and security cameras and thirteen to 24-in. (60 cm) diameter pole bases for fixtures.

“The entire pipe was installed and padded with screened soil processed onsite with our REMU screening bucket and our JD 50 excavator. The 200 linear feet of 12-inch ADS drainage pipe, 30 linear feet of heavy duty trench drain and one standard catch basin were supplied by M&M Precast of Danbury, Conn.,” added Cavaliere.

The east portion of the lot had 200 linear ft. (60 m) of French drain installed to catch water prior to entering the parking lot surface. All the ¾-in. (1.9 cm) material for drainage was clean recycled concrete saving the use and cost of virgin material. The lot was then graded and compacted and two 2-in. (5 cm) courses of asphalt were installed. About 1,600 tons (1,451 t) of asphalt was used. The lot was line striped and security fencing was installed around the perimeter.

• City of Stamford WPCA Pump Station paving: Removed existing asphalt at seven pump stations located in the city. Compacted existing base and adding base material where needed to create proper slope and pitch. Install 3-in. (7.6 cm) asphalt and compact.

“These improvements’ were to ease the pump stations operators of having to work around uneven and deteriorated asphalt,” said Cavaliere.

• NMP Golf Scalzi Park: Working as a sub-contractor, Cavaliere Industries was hired to screen 2,000 cu. yds. (1,529 cu m) of topsoil.

“We used our Hitachi 255 excavator and our Remu WL160 ¾-inch screening bucket. Using the excavator with screening bucket is quick and efficient by using only one machine to load and screen,” he added.

Eliminating the need for a loader with an operator. Cavaliere milled 2 in. off existing roadway and installed 1,000 tons (907 t) of Class 2 asphalt from 6 to 22 ft. (1.8 to 6.7 m) out from new curb about ¾-mi. (1.2 km) in length.

Cavaliere Industries also paved the walking paths around the inside perimeter of the park.

“This was eight feet wide and 200 linear feet of 5-feet-wide at 3-inch class 2 using about 900 tons of asphalt, all machine laid except for 125 ton of hand work where our LeeBoy 8816 paver could not fit. We also recycled all the millings and asphalt and gravel rubble into road base material. This project is phase one of the park improvements by the city of Stamford,” said a proud Cavaliere.

For more information, visit www.cavaliereindustries.com.