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Mercando Reaches for the Stars With Westchester Ford

Wed September 13, 2000 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

It was 1934, Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run against Detroit, the New York Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 30-13 for the NFL championship; John Dillinger broke out of jail using a wooden pistol; a stamp cost three cents; and Mercando Contracting Company Inc. was formed in Yonkers, NY.

The company, founded by Frank A. Mercando, specialized in excavation and concrete work with primarily residential applications.

In the late 1940’s, under the supervision of Dominic J. Mercando, Mercando Contracting expanded into masonry work and new home development. In the early 1980’s – when current President Frank J. Mercando became actively involved with the day-to-day activities of the business – the company expanded its commercial division, and now performs exclusively commercial work.

Today, Frank J. Mercando, the third generation, runs the company, which specializes in site excavation, concrete and masonry work.

The years have been good to Mercando Contracting. The company has worked on many high-profile commercial jobs including: a 450-car garage for the St. Joseph’s Medical Center, which included all site work, concrete and masonry applications; the expansion of the White Plains Hospital for which Mercando did all site work; the St. Agnes Hospital for which Mercando did the site work, concrete and masonry projects; and the New York School for the Deaf campus upgrade for which Mercando handled demolition and masonry.

Currently, Mercando is involved in the following:

• The masonry aspects of the upgrades at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

• Handling the masonry work for the Cedar Place Elementary School in Yonkers, NY; and

• The Workman Circle Multi-Care Facility in the Bronx, NY, where Mercando crews are handling the masonry work.

Right Equipment for the Job

To operate successfully, according to Frank Mercando, the company has invested in the right equipment for each job. For their equipment needs, Mercando relies on Westchester Tractor, Goldens Bridge, NY.

Mercando Contracting first did business with Westchester Tractor in the early 1990’s with the purchase of a Kubota 170 excavator. Searching for a compact excavator with no results, Mercando went to Westchester Tractor and found the Kubota excavator. That positive experience led to a continued relationship with Westchester Tractor.

“I am particularly impressed with the inventory that Westchester keeps available for New York contractors. When I need a piece of equipment, they have it,” he said.

“George [Risley, sales representative, Westchester Tractor] gives us personalized service, but more importantly, Westchester Tractor is a reputable company which gives us a feeling of confidence when we do business with them. I never feel like we will get lost in the shuffle at Westchester Tractor. We are a midsize company, and Westchester treats us like we were one of their most important customers, and that means a lot to us.

“George is one of the primary reasons that we continue to do business with Westchester Tractor. He is very attentive to our needs, understands our projects and bends over backward to supply us with the equipment that best suits our application at a reasonable cost. Most importantly, George has demonstrated a personal integrity and that, more than anything else, keeps us very loyal to Westchester Tractor,” he said.

All in a Day’s Work

Mercando Contracting is currently doing all the masonry work for a $2.6- million portion of the Cedar Place Elementary School, Cedar Place, Yonkers, NY.

The general contractor on the $17-million job is Losco Group, based in White Plains, NY.

The masonry work on this job includes a combination of the exterior walls, ground face block, pre-cast and brick while the interior walls include block or glazed block.

A large ground slope has been creating some unique challenges. The slope made setting up the scaffolding particularly difficult. To overcome this challenge specialized tower scaffolding units were purchased. With this type of scaffolding individual towers are set up, which allows Mercando crews to adjust the scaffolding to specific slopes.

Also particularly helpful on this job is the New Holland LM-860 telehandler, which Mercando rented from Westchester Tractor. With its 55 ft. (16 m) of reach and 10,000 lb. (4,500 kg) lift capacity, the machine has proven itself to be extremely valuable on the job site, said Mercando.

The company’s operators particularly enjoy the air-conditioned cab and the dust-free environment that the cab provides. The stabilizers on the machine have also added to the overall safety on the job site.

Owning the Machine

What started out as a three month rental of the New Holland LM-860 has turned into a purchase.

Mercando, who owns nearly all of the equipment used in his operation, said he couldn’t pass up the chance to own the telehandler.

“I feel that if I don’t own the equipment I will end up having to deal with the hassle of locating and renting the equipment that I need,” he said. “Time is money, and I can lose more time looking for a piece of equipment to rent for a specific application. If I have the piece in inventory I lose no down time and my project proceeds as scheduled.”

Looking to the Future

Over the years, Mercando Contracting has found its niche in the healthcare field. Mercando is very optimistic that that the field will continue to show strong growth over the next four to five years.

He currently has contracts to keep his company busy for the next three years. He feels that there is going to be particularly strong growth in the extended care and assisted living aspects of the health care field.

Particularly adept at handling some of the specialized challenges that come with working in the health care field industry, Mercando Contracting can deliver the ’total package’ – packaging the demolition, site work, concrete and masonry aspects of a job.

Mercando Contracting is also very involved in school expansion projects and the New York market looks strong for the next couple of years.

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