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Founder's Day BBQ Pays Tribute to Joe and John Albanese
Jun 5, 2015


When Joseph J. Albanese founded his company by the same name in 1955, he started out as a small concrete contractor, focusing on providing a quality product for his clients.  The son of Italian immigrants, he came from humble beginnings and knew that hard work would help his company build a strong, reputable brand.

Sixty years later in 2015, Joseph J. Albanese, Inc. has grown into a multiple scope contractor specializing in demolition, grading and paving, structural concrete, site concrete, shotcrete, rebar, concrete pumping and concrete cutting with revenues of more than $200,000,000 annually. Building on the company’s foundation established by Joe Albanese and then further propelled forward by the recently deceased John Albanese, the next generation of the Albanese team is working to continue the vision set forth by its earlier leaders.

John Albanese passed away a year ago on June 26, 2014.  It was John who drove JJA’s multiple scope product and capabilities to what they are today.  Speaking fondly of his father, Chief Executive Officer/President Kevin Albanese remembers that his father “was tired of waiting on other contractors to get his curbs poured.”  With a boom in housing tracks, shopping centers and industrial parks in the 1970s and 1980s, he said, Albanese became synonymous with flatwork and curbs in Santa Clara County.  Vice President of Operations Fil Calderon, who has been with Albanese since 1980, recalls that, “We [JJA] would hit three jobs and pour more than 3500 LF of curbs a day back then.” 

John, never settling for status quo, wasn’t happy with 3500 feet a day and was looking for an advantage.  This moved him to purchase a skip loader in order to cut the grade properly for his curb crews and machines.  John immediately saw the advantage of controlling both the grading and earthwork for the curbs and never looked back.  Beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Joseph J. Albanese, Inc. expanded into the different scopes that it provides today.

When describing John’s motivation to expand into different markets, Phillip Albanese, Chief Operating Officer an/Vice President, states that his dad, always concentrated on his product and his clients. “He (John) saw that having one company control more pieces on the critical path was beneficial both to his team’s success and the key stakeholders on the project…provided that Albanese did a good job.”  This is why brothers Kevin and Phillip, along with management team members Calderon, Dave Alaimo (CFO), Jeff Jacobs (VP of Estimating/Sales), John Franich (VP/General Manger), and Phil Roby (Vice President) work day in and day out to build upon the efficiencies set forth by the multiple scope model.

“Working within the Joseph J. Albanese, Inc. multiple scope model,” states Phillip, “provides all of our team members with a tremendous amount of experience.  We look to create an environment and team culture where we are all able to build off of that “experience capital” and improve.”  Furthermore, the structure of the organization encourages this growth as well. 

Speaking of the JJA team, Kevin says, “From our estimators to project managers and foremen, our team members will have experience with a particular problem or, at least, know where to go internally to get their issues resolved.” 

With more than 400 contracts annually, JJA separates the estimating and project management roles.  “This separation is critical to the success of JJA,” states Jacobs, “as it allows estimators to be very focused on estimating while allowing project managers and project engineers to be focused on projects that are running.”  The natural downside to this model is the potential for information getting lost between the transition between the estimating staff and operations.   To that point, Phillip says, “Pre-construction is the key, setting expectations before the work begins to all the stakeholders, both internally and externally, is what makes a project successful.” 

When speaking with the Albanese boys, it was very apparent that they understand the work is not complete and there will always be room for improvement.  In the early 1990s, John Albanese started the bulldog - Dogs of War (D.O.W) company mascot and added the “We Just Get it Done!” motto (and mantra) to every project JJA was on.  The Dogs of War came from John’s military service in Vietnam and it reflects an attitude and mentality of never giving up, of always going the extra mile.  “At the end of the day, the D.O.W. attitude is what makes this company unique and is what we need to continue to build on in the ever changing and demanding construction contracting market,” says Phillip. 

“Exactly” remarks Kevin, “take a look at our motto now!”

“We Just Get it Done. Safely.” are the words displayed just below the bulldog that has become an everyday reminder of John Albanese and Joseph J. Albanese on projects throughout Northern California today.