“The reliability and low cost of ownership on the Komatsu excavators is unbeatable”
C.C. Construction, Inc. President Chris Cooney says his company likes difficult projects, and its list of completed work across southeastern Massachusetts is proof. The company has worked on a solar farm in Cape Cod; contracted pipe bursting beneath cobblestone roads in Nantucket; completed a $10 million site-work package for a new high school in East Bridgewater; finalized the site-work project on a $30 million town hall in Plymouth; and laid 90,000 feet of water-main pipe in Eastham.
“The harder the job, the more we like it,” said Chris. “Projects with a degree of difficulty intrigue us. I think we’ve succeeded because we look for those jobs and complete them on schedule.
“We’re primarily a sewer and water contractor, but we do site excavation and road construction as well,” said Chris. “We work in the commercial market. Most of our jobs are south of the Mass Pike and east of the I-495 belt.”
Chris started the company in 1983, operating out of the front seat of his truck with a bag phone. Today, the South Dennis company has 39 employees and handles 16 to 20 jobs a year, ranging from $600,000 to $10 million.
“We have the ability to do a wide range of jobs because of our size,” he explained. “But the most important thing is that we do quality work as quickly and cost effectively as we can.”
Two of the company’s recent projects reflect that. On the Alma Del Mar Charter School project in New Bedford, C.C. Construction is performing the site work, digging footings and foundations, and installing drainage. It will also construct the parking lots and athletic fields, demo the existing sidewalks and install new ones. At the All-America Assisted Living project in Wareham, the company will perform all of the site work and install the drainage, water and sewer services.
Chris attributes his company’s successful track record to its entire staff. He notes that all his employees play a huge role in the company’s success, and he is thankful for their hard work and dedication. C.C. Construction’s employees include his son and Project Manager Brian; his wife of 34 years, Dyanne, who handles bonding and insurance; Estimators David Telman and Jeff Eyestone; and Controller Linda Mucha.
“Linda cares more about my money than I do,” joked Chris. “She has the best attitude every day, is always willing to do whatever you ask and is highly organized. I am very grateful I convinced her to work for us 15 years ago. I couldn’t be happier.”
While C.C. Construction’s list of services is diverse, the company is drawn to one type of project.
“We love groundwater and the challenges that come with it,” shared Chris. “Groundwater is something that we’re able to manage, and we like it. The deeper we have to go, the better.”
C.C. Construction has been working on a groundwater project in Nantucket for the past nine winters. The project requires replacing the town’s original sewer and water infrastructure, some of which was installed in the 1800s.
“The sewers were hand-dug and wooden; it’s pretty cool to see how far infrastructure has come,” said Chris. “Our main focus is installing new pipe. We’ve probably installed 100,000 feet of sewer, water and drainage pipe on the project. At Brant Point, we laid 20,000 feet of sewer pipe to a pump station that hadn’t stopped running for five years because of all the groundwater infiltration.”
Before C.C. Construction could install the pipe, it had to lower the natural groundwater 15 feet below sea level.
“The groundwater was only two feet below the street,” Cooney recalled. “We had to use small well points every ten feet and manifold them to a large pipe that sat above ground. Then, we literally vacuumed the water deeper in isolated areas. We pumped millions of gallons of water on that job, and today the pump station no longer runs constantly.”
You could say that C.C. Construction got into the contaminated soil business because of its DNA. Just as Chris is attracted to groundwater projects for their degree of difficulty, Brian is drawn to what he calls “dirty dirt.”
“There are a lot of old factory warehouses and buildings that are being renovated,” noted Brian. “Before a project like that can begin, the soil needs to be tested. If there is contaminated soil around those buildings, it needs to be removed properly.”
Brian and a crew received Hazpower training to become certified in working with soil that tests positive for hazardous chemicals. The company excavates the dirt and has contracts with other certified companies to haul away the material for incineration and decontamination. Brian estimates the company has handled more than 100,000 tons of contaminated soil since becoming certified five years ago.
“We just completed a job in Waltham where the contractor was renovating an old watch factory,” said Brian. “When the building was originally in use, radium was commonly used in watches, and the workers just threw what they didn’t use out the window. Needless to say, the soil failed the test and had to be decontaminated. That’s where we came in. We excavated it, hauled it and disposed of it.”
While Brian says C.C. Construction is far from being one of the industry leaders in decontamination, the new focus has been a revenue stream for the company.
“There are some very big companies that deal with ‘dirty dirt’ all the time,” said Brian. “We have worked with them on a number of projects, and we have also been able to do some smaller ones that didn’t show up on their radars.”
“We wouldn’t have gotten into this type of work if it weren’t for Brian,” stated Chris. “I guess he likes a challenge as much as I do.”
Komatsu and C.N. Wood
To complete all of its projects, C.C. Construction turns to a fleet of Komatsu excavators from C.N. Wood Co., Inc., and Sales Rep Keven Hobbs. The company owns 13 excavators, 10 of which are Komatsus, ranging from a PC88 to a PC390.
“The reliability and low cost of ownership on the Komatsu excavators is unbeatable,” said Brian. “We can do things with a smaller Komatsu excavator that we can’t do with others. Komatsu just has more versatility and power.”
“Another benefit is that resale has been outstanding on the machines,” said Chris. “We had a PC300 with 18,000 hours on it, and we still got some money for it.”
C.C. Construction also relies on C.N. Wood for services, including KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s machine-monitoring system, and Komatsu CARE, which provides complimentary service for the first three years or 2,000 hours.
“Right now, we have KOMTRAX on our PC138, 160, 170, 228, and 390 excavators,” reported Brian. “We use it to track idle time and fuel usage. It’s a terrific tool. Komatsu CARE is also great. We don’t have to worry about scheduling maintenance on those machines; C.N. Wood handles all of it. “
When Chris looks at his son, he sees the future of C.C. Construction.
“Honestly, I was ready to shut the doors when the recession hit, but Brian showed an interest in the company, and he has done a great job,” recalled Chris. “We’ve pretty much been a mom-and-pop business, but Brian’s changing that.”
“One thing that will not change is our commitment to our employees and customers,” said Brian. “Chris has done an excellent job taking care of all the people that make this company go.”
In turn, Brian and Chris appreciate the unwavering support they have received from vendors and suppliers, including C.N. Wood.
Another area where Brian plans to continue in his father’s footsteps is with the company’s philanthropy. C.C. Construction has been active in the area, raising funds for people in need and community projects.
“We’ve done events to help with the Cape Cod Baseball League, the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund, Cape Cod Hospital, the MS chapter of Cape Cod and others,” said Brian. “We also participate in the Jimmy Fund Memorial fishing tournament and a local go-kart race.”
At times C.C. Construction has relied on the help of others to succeed, so it’s important to Chris and Brian that when they can give back, they do.
“It’s something we believe in strongly,” noted Chris.”