Andrew Woodstock, president at-large
Andrew Woodstock loves to work, and for most of his 55 years he's been doing just that. From selling papers to mowing lawns, he was always motivated to succeed. That drive began early and led to the creation of Woodstock Construction Group, which has grown into a family business. However, the company may never have come to fruition if he'd had a different attitude toward the family's original side business — acting.
“I am one of 12 siblings, so Dad started acting in commercials to bring in more money,” recalled Andrew. “Eventually, all of us began doing some acting or modeling for catalogs. It sounds great, and looking back, it was. But when you're 12 and you are running through a field in your underwear for a Fruit of the Loom commercial, your buddies let you have it at school the next day. I begged my mom and dad to let me do something else, so they lent me the lawn mower and I got to work.”
Quickly enough, he had 25 accounts. Those friends who got a good laugh from ribbing Andrew? They came in handy as he hired them as part of his crew. That ingenuity and drive were key to his other ventures as well. By the time he entered middle school, Andrew was more than six-feet tall and weighed 200 pounds, so no one blinked an eye when he applied for a job loading and unloading trailers on Friday nights with his older brothers.
“It was great,” he exclaimed. “The other employees didn't want that shift, and no one really questioned my age. I made good money and got in awesome shape.”
By age 19, Andrew was married to his wife, Sharon, and the foundation for Woodstock Construction was in place. It started off with landscaping and utility work and moved into residential construction soon after.
For the 36 years that followed, the firm has continued to find success and exude Andrew's passion for the work it does. It has 25 employees, and family is a major component. Andrew is president at-large and Sharon is the acting president. Their son, Patrick, is vice president and daughter, Meghan Woodstock Domingo, is office manager. Meghan's husband, Dave, also works in the company as does Andrew's nephew James Meyerdierks.
“You can't beat having family involved,” shared Andrew. “Patrick runs the outside, Meghan takes care of the inside, Sharon makes sure everyone gets paid and I get to oversee the bigger picture. I couldn't do it without them, Project Manager John Reilly, Secretary Kathy Beccaris-Sandler and everyone else here. We have an excellent group of people who make us successful.”
On the Water
Woodstock Construction Group takes pride in calling itself a multifaceted general contracting company, because it's true, and it's also easier than listing all of the services it provides.
“When we started in residential construction, we could do anything from digging the foundation to laying tiles on the floor,” said Patrick. “Then we morphed into landscaping, utility installation, bulkheading, dredging, masonry and park construction. People look at me silly when I start listing things, but we basically do everything in-house except for electrical and plumbing.”
Recently, the company has handled a number of projects located near water, mainly bulkheads and marina upgrades. One example is a 4,000-ft. seawall renovation for Watch Hill located on Fire Island, N.Y. Woodstock Construction laid 60,000 sq. ft. of decking, installed utility lines and resurfaced the entire marina. The job's location on Fire Island National Seashore made it unique and challenging.
“This island is like a science project for New York's ecosystem, and it's run by the National Parks Service,” detailed Patrick. “We couldn't go in and tear everything out before and do our regular exploratory work, we had to make do with what we had.
“Diligent planning was also necessary, because we were literally on an island,” he continued. “We had to know exactly what to bring by barge before we started. Equipment, material, tools, you name it, we planned for it, down to the screws for the decking. If you forgot something, you couldn't just jump in the truck and go to the store, you had to take a boat. It was a whole new ballgame.”
The move to marine projects has suited Woodstock Construction nicely, and its well-rounded background enables the firm to stand out against the competition.
“When a marina renovation comes up, there are a lot of companies vying for it,” explained Andrew. “But there's more than just a marina that needs to be done. There are restroom facilities, a dockmaster building, a parking lot, infrastructure, drainage and site work to do. When some companies realize that, they back out. With our experience, we can handle it all. That's why we've been successful in this area.”
No Tail, Many Advantages
Whether Woodstock Construction is operating along the coast or inland, it needs compact equipment that can be used in many applications. To get those versatile pieces, Woodstock Construction turns to Ehrbar and Sales Rep Michael Gaine for tight-tail-swing Komatsu excavators.
“We have a PC138USLC and a PC228USLC, and they are perfect for what we do,” noted Patrick. “Space is limited on job sites, so we require compact machines that can do everything we need.
“They are even more valuable from a safety standpoint,” he added. “The 10 or 12 ft. these machines save us are incredible. Our job sites might look big, but once we get machines, people and material there, it turns into a Honda Civic quickly. The PC138 and PC228 help us create both a safe and efficient work space.”
The company also uses a Komatsu WA200PZ wheel loader for the same reasons. “It's a big enough machine that we can load trailers, and the tight turning radius allows us to use it anywhere,” said Patrick.
The decision to go with Komatsu machines from Ehrbar has been one that Woodstock Construction has repeated for years.
“We consider Ehrbar a strategic partner in our business,” stated Andrew. “We had a great relationship with our original Sales Rep Dan Stanton — who recently retired — and he taught Michael well. We know that Ehrbar stands behind us. If we need something, from advice to service to equipment, they are going to help us. Ehrbar is always on top of things.”
The Next Step
For someone who has held a job his entire life, thinking about a future that doesn't include some type of work is difficult to fathom.
“I love what I do,” revealed Andrew, “I've never been motivated by money, even when I was young, mowing yards. I'd get $100 bucks and give it to my mom. She'd hand me $5 for the movies, and I was set. There's just something about taking a pile of rocks and making it into something beautiful. That's what we do, just on a really large scale.”
Still, Andrew realizes he can't lead the company forever. Fortunately, he believes the firm is in great hands going forward. “Each day that goes by I know my career is coming to a close; fortunately Patrick and Meghan are very capable and do a great job. They just point me in a direction and tell me to get to it.
“I'm not in the field much anymore,” he added. “But, there are days when I feel like I'm winding down only to start on a project, hit that sweet spot again and remember why I love doing this. I don't think I'll ever totally stop.”
(This article originally appeared in the Ehrbar Advantage Magazine, which is produced by Construction Publications, Inc.)