Preserving Arlington Memorial Bridge

Cavaliere Industries Has Grown, Thrived Since 1955

Mon October 01, 2007 - Northeast Edition
James A. Merolla



In 1955, undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano fought his 49th and final battle against light heavyweight champion Archie Moore, digging very deep in the four-squared corners of the ring in Madison Square Garden.

Approximately 39 mi. to the East on Route 95 that same year, another hard-working Italian-American, Frank Cavaliere, started a small excavating business with a new Oliver tractor equipped with a Pippin backhoe and a front loader bucket in nearby Stamford, Conn.

He, too, dug deep.

About the time Marciano retired, soon after, Cavaliere invited his brother-in-law to join the business. Together they formed C & P Excavating Contractors Inc.

Dominick Cavaliere, Frank’s younger brother, purchased a third share of the excavating business in 1957 while working part-time after school. Upon his graduation in 1959, he joined the firm full-time. A new contracting business was born.

Now called Cavaliere Industries Inc., the small partnership built on solid values has been serving the construction industry and the private sector for more than 52 years. Since the middle of the Eisenhower administration, they have built a strong reputation based on quality, knowledge and professionalism.

From the 1950s Through the 1980s

C & P got off to a charging start. In those early years, C & P Excavating Contractors specialized in digging additions, foundations and sewer and water lines. As business increased, more equipment was purchased, including a John Deere backhoe, a dump truck and pick-up truck.

During the 1960s, C & P was the primary contractor for Southern New England Telephone Company, Northeast Utilities (gas and electric divisions), and the Stamford Water Company. The partners also worked for major building contractors on such projects as Caldors on Summer Street in Stamford, (now the Burlington Coat Factory), the Army Corps of Engineers Stamford Hurricane Barrier, Harbor Power Station on Manresa Island in Norwalk, Conn., and New Canaan (Conn.) High School.

Throughout the 1960s, the company diversified by purchasing real estate in the Stamford area, and the partners took on distinctive roles. Dominick Cavaliere managed estimates, sales and customer service. Tony Portanova served as field coordinator. And Frank Cavaliere handled all real estate for the company, including property purchases, planning and building, and leasing and selling of buildings and condos developed by C&P Excavating Contractors.

By the 1970s, under the direction of the three partners, C & P had grown into a well-respected company with a history of more than 25 years of excellent service. The three partners had two sons each, and during those years, the six young men worked for their fathers’ business in the summers, and eventually joined the firm full-time.

In 1988, Frank Sr. and Dominick Sr. purchased Tony Portanova’s share of the company. In 1989, a North East Utilities Electric Co. job was awarded to C & P, which included replacement of 46 buried splice boxes with 46 new pre-cast concrete manholes in Greenwich, Conn. That same year, North East Utilities Electric Co. once again turned to C & P; this next job entailed installing a transmission line in Darien, Conn., and included a 12-conduit duct bank encased in concrete with manholes. The contract also called for milling and paving for the final road restoration.

In 1989, C & P seized another opportunity for expansion and purchased a new Wirtgen 1000VC.

Milling Around During 1994

In 1994, a used half-lane milling machine was purchased after C & P was awarded the annual contract for the Town of Greenwich (Conn.) to mill its asphalt roads. The work included trucking of milled material, trimming around manholes and curb boxes, sweeping and traffic control in the work area. Since then, its equipment fleet has grown tremendously to include four high-production half-lane milling machines, utility milling machines and trimming machines, along with support equipment for milling operations.

Upon Frank Sr.’s retirement from the business in 1991, Dominick Sr. purchased his brother’s share and became sole owner of C & P, with his sons, Louis and Dominick Jr. (DJ), and daughter, Maria, working by his side.

Over the next several years, C&P’s milling work included the milling of Interstate-95 in Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Bridgeport, New Haven and Branford, Conn. The business also expanded further into New England by milling local roads in major cities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

In 1996, C & P changed its name to Cavaliere Industries Inc. as the business further expanded and became more involved in asphalt milling as well as utility excavation, site work, equipment rental, I-95 video incident management camera system, and Level (3) Communications excavation for the installation of fiber optic conduit (this job also included milling and paving of more than 40 mi. [64.3 km] of roads).

After Dominick Cavaliere Sr.’s retirement on Jan. 1, 2004, he left the business to his two sons, Louis Cavaliere and DJ.

“Lou and I were brought up in the business working summers, school vacations, etc.,” said DJ Cavaliere. “It’s all we knew.”

Louis and DJ Cavaliere have developed and enhanced the family business with their expertise. While Cavaliere Industries is still involved in all areas of excavation, the business also is well respected for the partners’ expertise in reclaiming and asphalt paving. And with the purchase of new and updated equipment, Cavaliere Industries meets the growing and diverse needs of its customers.

State of the Art Move in 2004

In 2004, Cavaliere Industries moved into a new state-of-the-art office and repair facility at 226 Selleck St., Suite C, Stamford, Conn.

The new building boasts 1,500 sq. ft. of office space and a three-bay repair garage with indoor wash bay. The parts and storage area is 5,000 sq. ft., housing spare parts and smaller tools and equipment.

For the 2006 construction season, Cavaliere Industries added a second John Deere 50 mini-excavator, a new topsoil screener and a LeeBoy 8500 asphalt paver to meet the requests of customers for expanded services.

In early 2007, Cavaliere Industries proudly introduced C.O.R. (Cavaliere Onsite Recycling). C.O.R. has the capability to crush and recycle rock, concrete, asphalt, block and brick into a useable .75-in. (1.9 cm) minus product. The company also is a factory-authorized dealer for Rubble Master Products.

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

But it hasn’t been easy, with competition up and down the highway.

“Over the years, more competition has gotten tougher. In our area, every landscaper who owned a lawn mower now owns an excavator or paver or loader,” said DJ Cavaliere. “We used to be one of five or six companies in our area, but there has to be 30 to 40 construction companies. There are only a handful of firms in our area that are 50-years-plus in business.

“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,” added Cavaliere. “For COR we operate Rubble Master Products exclusively. All our equipment is for rent. We mostly want to rent and sell Rubble Master crushers and screeners.”

Important Projects, Employees

Some of the company’s very 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, 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

“We are currently crushing and recycling for a few area contractors,” said Cavaliere. “Mainly, we have been using our crusher on our own site in New Canaan.”

In total, the company has more than 50 pieces of equipment. Consisting of trucks, excavators, loaders, rollers, crushers, etc., and support equipment.

The company employs anywhere from 12 to 20 people, given the season.

“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. We feel the C.O.R. end of the business will increase dramatically and have a great feeling on selling and servicing a great product.”

The biggest challenge these days, he added, is finding qualified help and retaining employees.

“The other is the huge influx of new companies,” said Cavaliere. “Unlike HVAC, plumbing and electrical work, our work in unregulated and unlicensed contractors are able to go to a rental facility, rent an excavator and perform his own site work.”

Among the company’s most cherished employees is Maria Cavaliere Lovello, Louis and DJ’s sister and office manager. She executes all of its company contracts and purchase orders, including accounting. Lou Cavaliere performs Rubble Master parts and sales, along with day-to-day operations and estimating of excavating.

DJ Cavaliere manages all asphalt milling sales and estimating, along with Rubble Master sales. Lou Turiano is superintendent and manages the day-to-day operations and scheduling of milling and paving sales. Bill Ackerson is the service manager who runs the garage and is in charge of all maintenance and service of equipment, including the ordering of parts. Anthony Rende is the firm’s Rubble Master factory-trained service technician and field service representative.

For more information on C.O.R. a division of Cavaliere Industries Inc., go to www.cavaliereonsite.com or www.cavaliereindustries.com.

CEG