A Foundation for Growth
R.Z. Contracting Corporation develops sites, builds long-lasting partnerships
Ron Zawadsky, Owner and President of R.Z. Contracting Corporation (R.Z. Contracting), loves laying the groundwork for new growth. When a longtime customer asked R.Z. Contracting for help with site development for an expansion project, Ron jumped at the chance. “This project will help the client substantially grow his business with a new automotive dealership and repair shop,” Ron says.
R.Z. Contracting, a full-service site development and site improvement company, removed a dilapidated building and cleared overgrown trees and other vegetation from the site that adjoins the customer’s existing property in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The company excavated the land, preparing it for utilities and stormwater management infrastructure, and laid the foundation for the new service center. Later, once construction is complete, R.Z. Contracting will return to pour concrete curbs and sidewalks and pave the parking lot. “The client is anxious to get this project complete, so we moved quickly on the site work,” Ron says. “It’s exciting and rewarding to play a part in helping a client improve and grow his business.”
Currently headquartered in Philadelphia, R.Z. Contracting has played a part in the growth of Philadelphia’s businesses for the last 45 years. The family-owned firm, which is building a brand-new headquarters in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, serves commercial and industrial customers throughout Greater Philadelphia and the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. With projects ranging in size from $100,000 to over $1 million, the company specializes in commercial asphalt paving services, concrete work, excavation and demolition.
“We often work with real estate developers and general contractors to provide land clearing, excavation and demolition, utility trenching and preparation for stormwater management infrastructure, as well as foundations and other concrete work for office buildings, multifamily residences and retail shopping centers,” Ron says. In addition to paving, the company provides maintenance services for sidewalks, curbs and parking lots, helping customers reduce risk and maintain property value and site aesthetics.
Clear, Upfront Communications
Ron prides himself on building mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationships with customers. “We want to get to know our clients’ needs. When we’re first meeting about a project, we want to know what’s driving them to do this project. How are they hoping we can help?”
Once the project scope is laid out, the team works hard to match it with the budget. “We figure out a project approach that gives the client the biggest bang for their buck,” Ron says.
Customers can expect the team at R.Z. Contracting to be clear, upfront and stay in close communication throughout the duration of a project, Ron says. “We provide high-quality work and, most of all, we perform that work safely.”
He explains that safety isn’t just a buzzword at R.Z. Contracting. It’s ingrained in the company culture. “Every one of our employees is OSHA 30 certified,” Ron says. “We meet weekly to go over the upcoming week’s safety challenges, and every morning, crews meet to discuss potential safety issues of the day.”
He cites a recent project at First State Plaza shopping center in Wilmington, Delaware. “This is a busy area with a movie theater, grocery store, outdoor retail stores and a post office,” Ron says. The company was contracted to repave the 10-acre parking lot, repair sidewalks, curbs, lighting, railings and ramps, and repair and repave the center’s loading docks.
“The shopping center stayed open during the entire monthlong project,” Ron says. R.Z. Contracting coordinated work and kept in close communication with the property manager and multiple tenants. “We provided traffic control, signage and flagging, and installed temporary railing and ramps so shoppers and workers had safe access to and from entrances,” he says. The company assigned staff to ensure safety protocols were maintained and to keep an eye out for any potential issues while work progressed.
R.Z. Contracting completed the project ahead of schedule with zero safety incidents, and its quality work, safe practices and attention to detail led to follow-on work with the same client, as well as additional project work from others in the community.
Giving 100 Percent on Projects
Ron credits his hardworking team for the company’s success. “Our employees are loyal and dedicated, and everyone gives 100 percent. They know that their success is our success.”
The company is currently engaged in a site development project in Philadelphia. “We removed an 8,000-square-foot abandoned building and foundation with a lot of structural steel and heavy masonry walls,” Ron says. “We’re excavating the site and installing the foundation for a new building, preparing the ground for stormwater management infrastructure and utilities. Later, we’ll come back to lay the parking lot and pour the sidewalks.”
Ron says that clients appreciate the wide array of services provided by R.Z. Contracting. “A lot of companies offer one or two services, like demo and excavation or paving and sidewalks. We’re really a one-stop shop, providing the total site development package,” he says.
A Pickup Truck and a Dream
The company got its start in 1976 after Ron’s father, Ron Sr., graduated from high school. “My dad started R.Z. Contracting with a pickup truck and a dream,” Ron says. Ron Sr.’s father, George, who had recently retired, joined him on job sites, and his mother, Janet, managed the office for the fledgling company. R.Z. Contracting initially focused on residential projects, paving driveways, sidewalks and curbs. In time, the company added excavation and demolition services to its suite of services, taking on larger commercial concrete and asphalt jobs.
Ron grew up around the business shadowing his father from an early age. Over time, he received hands-on training in the business and moved up in the ranks. “Eventually, I began running job sites, managing crews, working with clients and seeing projects through to completion,” he says.
When Ron graduated from high school, he joined the family business full time and sought out additional mentors who would help him in understanding how to take the business to the next level. “The hands-on learning and old-school expertise I learned from my father was invaluable,” he says. “At a certain point, however, I was eager to take on larger commercial projects and reached out to other company owners to try to figure out how they grew their businesses.”
Ron added equipment and crew needed to serve larger commercial and industrial clients. “No matter the size or scope of the job, we pride ourselves in offering a personal touch on projects,” he says. “We’re small enough to give the client the sense that they’re our only client and large enough that we can handle complex projects.”
Though Ron Sr. and Janet have retired from R.Z. Contracting, Ron still has an important family member by his side, his wife, Katie, who serves as Executive Vice President, overseeing revenue generation and general operations. “Katie has been with the company for years. She kind of married into all this,” he laughs. Ron credits his supportive family, including brother-in-law, Matt, and sister, Kristy, with giving him the support needed to grow the company. “I’ve always had a very strong support network,” he says.
“I consider our company a melting pot of diverse talents. Together, we achieve great things.” Ron Zawadsky, Owner and President, R.Z. Contracting Corporation
A Lifetime of Experience
With 15 full-time employees and 20 seasonal crew members, the company attracts some of the finest talent in the industry, according to Ron. “Bryant Deinhardt, our Vice President, comes to us from New York. He grew up in this business and studied at Drexel University. Our Master Mechanic and Fleet Manager, Brent Sali, hails from Michigan. He’d worked for many different utility companies and brings a lifetime of experience to the job.”
General Manager Andrew McEntee joined the company eight years ago when he finished serving in the military. “Andrew brings an unmatched dedication and leadership to the team,” he adds.
Ron says that the company has great employee retention with some employees who have been at R.Z. Contracting for more than 10 years. He adds that it’s a family affair for one of the company’s crew. “We have three brothers and a father on one crew,” he says.
Ron builds strong relationships and a close-knit company culture by getting out into the field and working side by side with employees. “We care about our team and we touch base with them regularly. It’s important they feel seen and heard and that they understand they are a huge part of why we’re able to do what we do at R.Z. Contracting.”
The company shows its appreciation through a yearly kickoff party, barbecues and catered luncheons to celebrate goals and achievements. “I consider our company a melting pot of diverse talents. Together, we achieve great things,” Ron says.
Helping Others Pursue Their Dreams
R.Z. Contracting not only achieves great things on job sites, but also is helping to make the community great. In addition to donating to the local food bank, the company lends it support to the Philadelphia Community Corps, which provides career training opportunities, and Second Chance Jobs, which offers career opportunities and training for displaced workers, veterans and non-violent offenders. The company provides on-the-job training and has even hired members of the program. “It’s easy to mess up in life and very difficult to come out of it. We believe it’s important to help these people pursue their dreams of becoming productive members of society,” Ron says.
Whether helping to nurture and strengthen community members or his own employees, Ron believes in the power of working together. “At R.Z. Contracting, we’re trying to create something useful that serves others. The work we do helps to make our communities better, safer and more attractive for those who live and work here. That’s what I love most about what we do.”