Brazilian-Born Company Founder Thrives in Conn. Snow
📅 Thu August 03, 2017 - Northeast Edition #16
Family is a big part of Damasceno’s Landscapes & Construction LLC. Vice President Ana Paula and President Eddie Damasceno hope that their children (L-R) Stella, Stephanie and David will one day continue the company.
Eddie Damasceno grew up playing on equipment at his family's farm in Minas Geras, Brazil. It created a passion that he brought with him to the United States and channeled into a thriving business.
“I loved being able to mess around and use equipment when I was growing up,” recalled Eddie. “My parents, Sebastian and Durcelei, came to the United States in 1988, and I joined them in 1997. When I finished high school, I knew I wanted something different than college, so I went to work. My dad had a residential landscaping business, so he helped me get started.”
When Sebastian decided it was time to retire as the recession hit in 2008, Eddie bought his father's accounts and ran the business. After scraping by for two years, Eddie started Damasceno's Landscapes & Construction LLC in 2010, which led to a shift in emphasis as well as rapid growth.
“Dad's focus was more on residential landscaping, which took a hit during the recession,” explained Eddie. “An acquaintance got me into the commercial side, which is a little more difficult to maintain, but there was less competition and more jobs available. Since then, we've really taken off.”
Today, Damasceno's Landscapes & Construction handles maintenance on more than 100 commercial properties between spring and fall and plows snow at 38 sites in the winter. The company works throughout Connecticut and has a crew of 33 employees — including a fresh-out-of-retirement Sebastian.
“We're able to stay busy all year around, and that's important,” said Eddie. “Our bread-and-butter is the maintenance properties we have on multi-year contracts. We do everything from cutting grass to planting flowers. It's consistent, which makes the rest of what we do possible.”
The success of the Damasceno's Landscapes has made the Construction part of its name feasible. The company also does site-development work for housing-complex projects by digging foundations, installing water and utility lines as well as performing asphalt paving. In addition, Damasceno's handles some demolition and has a trucking division with five tri-axle trucks. That division hauls equipment for both Damasceno and outside customers. All aspects of the company have allowed Damasceno's to remain self-sufficient.
“We can do everything in-house,” shared Eddie. “We started hauling because we didn't want to wait on other people. Now, we have greater control, and it serves both our site-development and maintenance areas. It's been a great addition.”
Serious About Snow
It may seem odd for a person who grew up in tropical Brazil to thrive in winter weather, but Eddie has become well-equipped for handling snow. The company has contracts to remove snow for dozens of customers, including a trio of high-traffic, exit-service-centers on Interstate 95, and Damasceno's takes serious pride in keeping the traffic moving smoothly throughout the snowy months.
“I'm not a big fan of winter, but it's great for our business,” laughed Eddie. “Snow removal has become an important part of our work. We have zero tolerance for snow. The service centers we maintain are roughly 2 to 3 acres each. We keep an eye on the weather to be proactive. We have two machines at each site throughout the season to make sure we can act quickly and keep everything clean and flowing.”
The commitment to snow removal has led to an increase in Damasceno's Landscapes & Construction's fleet. The company purchased three Komatsu wheel loaders from Edward Ehrbar and Sales Rep Andy Jett last year, and it rented another six to handle the winter work.
“Our blades are all steel to make sure we remove the snow, not pack it down, which can happen with a standard rubber edge on a blade,” detailed Eddie. “The service centers are open 24 hours a day, so we have to make sure they are clear. We try to show up a half an hour before the snow to pre-treat with salt and solution, then we continue to clear until the snow stops.”
Eddie says his crew uses a mix of Komatsu WA200 and WA270 wheel loaders for snow removal. “The Komatsu loaders are comfortable, reliable and fuel-efficient. The rearview cameras are also very helpful in a busy area like this. We love them.”
The dedicated service at the Interstate 95 centers has paid dividends as Damasceno's Landscapes & Construction also performs landscaping maintenance throughout the spring, summer and fall, in addition to 20 other locations owned by the same customer.
The uptick in contracts for Damasceno's Landscapes & Construction has led to an increased need for both machines and maintenance. Fortunately, Eddie knows that help is just one call away.
“Ehrbar and Andy have been great for our company,” commented Eddie. “We have experienced a lot of growth recently, and the service we get from Ehrbar helped make that possible.”
For Eddie, the decision to go with Komatsu and Ehrbar is a no-brainer. “It's been a great relationship, and one we appreciate,” he said. “The service beyond the sale is second-to-none. We go through Komatsu Financing for purchase rates and warranties before we get the machine – zero percent interest for 48 months, you can't beat that. Ehrbar also helps us customize the machines with lights, blades and anything else to best suit our needs.
“Then after the sale, Komatsu CARE and KOMTRAX are amazing services,” he continued. “Ehrbar takes care of the regular maintenance for the first three years or 2,000 hours through Komatsu CARE. The complimentary KOMTRAX service helps us keep a handle on everything from fuel location to idle time on the machines. Ehrbar and Komatsu offer the full package.”
Damasceno's fleet also includes a Komatsu PC220LC-6 excavator that has been a workhorse for the company.
“We bought a used PC220 in 2005 with about 3,800 hours on it,” said Eddie. “Twelve years later, it's up to 10,000 hours, and it still gets the job done for us. That says a lot about the type of product Komatsu makes.”
Eddie is confident that Damasceno's Landscapes & Construction has the reputation and tools in place to be successful well into the future.
“It's been quite the ride so far,” shared Eddie. “This is a fun time. We are growing in size and reputation, and I am so thankful for that. In the immediate future, I think there are a lot of opportunities for us to expand the company. We are doing things the right way, and we'll continue to thrive as long as we put God first and deliver a high-quality product for our customers.”
Eddie also touts a top-notch staff, which is heavy on family, for the company's achievements. Eddie's wife, Ana Paula, is vice president, and his uncle and father are both superintendents. An opportunity to work with family is something that Eddie cherishes and hopes his children — Stephanie (8), David (3) and Stella (1) — will have the chance to experience some day.
“We have some of the best people here, and it's great to be able to work with them,” he said. “Family is always number one for me. It's not always easy to be in business with family, but it's very rewarding. I hope someday, when I've retired to a sandy beach, my kids will be here to carry on the business.”
(This story was reprinted with permission from Ehrbar's Advantage Magazine, May 2017 issue.)