Utility & Transportation
New Prince Concrete Construction Celebrates 50 Years In Business
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Son & r me Of rea ears C Y her 95 etc ting l F J. ebra l Ce cess Suc
From the desk of: tom hardell
s taxpayers, we should be increasingly concerned with government efficiency and transparency. As contractors, we must be vigilant with our State agencies to ensure that they are spending their capital dollars in an effective and efficient manner. To that end, your Association has been extremely active over the last several months engaging the new administration on these issues.
The Association also recently met with several other transportation agencies to discuss current and future issues facing the industry. UTCA Board members and staff recently met with Jim Starace, Chief Engineer of the Port Authority of NY/NJ to discuss contractor evaluations, the capital program and more. The meeting was informative and much was accomplished for the industry.
Members of the Association Executive Committee and staff recently held several meetings with the NJDOT to discuss their capital funding and how it is being administered. In particular, a meeting was held with the Assistant Commissioner for Planning, Multimodal & Grant Administration and the Director of Local Aid to discuss the Local Aid program. As part of the Transportation Trust Fund Renewal, against the advice and counsel of our industry, the legislature doubled the local aid funding at NJDOT. Of particular concern are several factors including how long the money can be tied up with municipalities and counties prior to actually hitting the street, what level of prequalification is required of contractors performing local aid projects, and how much local aid work is being self-performed by local Departments of Public Works. While the meeting was productive, it did make it clear that our industry needs to be an active voice in making sure that local aid funds are being spent in a timely manner, and that the contracts are being delivered by qualified members of our industry. As members of the UTCA we should all educate our employees on these issues and get them involved at their town and counties to help us achieve getting the work on the street in a timely manner and with qualified contractors.
We also recently met with Kevin Corbett, the newly installed Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT and his senior staff. We were particularly encouraged by Mr. Corbett’s message of reformation at NJ TRANSIT and the need to return the capital program to working order. In the last fiscal year, NJ TRANSIT only put out $25 million in awarded contracts. Executive Director Corbett is seeking to raise that number to $100-200 million in the near term while working his way back up to the more traditional annual program of approximately $400 million. Needless to say, UTCA offered its assistance in any way to make those numbers a reality.
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Finally, I would like to congratulate the Maisano Family and everyone at New Prince Concrete Construction on celebrating the impressive milestone of 50 years in business. I would also like to congratulate Fletch Creamer on the 95th Anniversary of J. Fletcher Creamer & Son. Fletch is one of the pillars of our industry and we look forward to counting down the days until we can celebrate Creamer’s centennial anniversary. If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover story 46 New Prince concrete construction celebrates 50 years in business
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56 J. fletcher creamer & son celebrating 95 years of
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Published Bimonthly During 2018
1670 Route 34 North Farmingdale, NJ 07727 PO Box 728 Allenwood, NJ 08720 PH: (732) 292-4300 FAX: (732) 292-4310 www.utcanj.org
Publisher: Robert A. Briant, Jr. Editor: Helene Nasdeo Editorial Contributors: Anthony Attanasio, Zoe Baldwin, Dan Neville, Dan Kennedy Advertising Manager: Helene Nasdeo Photographer: Image Up Cover Photo: Image Up Production/Graphics: Helene Nasdeo, Lauren Hagan Circulation: Helene Nasdeo Printed By: American Plus Printers Affiliations: ARTBA, Clean Water Construction Coalition UTILITY AND TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTOR (ISSN 0192-4843) is published six times a year by the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey, 1670 Highway 34 North, Farmingdale, NJ 07727. Periodical postage paid at Farmingdale, NJ and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to UTILITY AND TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTOR, PO Box 728, Allenwood, NJ 08720.
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By: Bill Ruckert, Provident Bank
ool boxes are a commonly known item and contain devices that are used for repairs, improvements and to build new things. I often refer to them when speaking with clients as we share common tools and unique ones, both of which are leveraged to enhance the relationship. While some items are inter-changeable, it is the industry-specific ones that provide the most opportunity to maximize synergies. The construction industry has standard instruments stored in their tool boxes; however, there are many others including financial reporting/forecasting, bidding practices, collateral, cash flow, experienced management and legal and accounting support, to name a few. While hand tools can change by industry, the other items are universally important for all companies and have an equal amount of impact on your company’s results. Technological advances can change what’s in your tool box over time, as the instruments need to be kept up to date. However, these devices must also remain clean, accurate, relevant and applicable to the work being done. If there are tools not being used, they are likely outdated and should be either replaced or revisited to determine their importance. The devices used to run your business should also be compared to what your competitors are using to ensure a level playing field. Business partners must also be aware of the tools you use, and a critical constructive analysis must be routinely completed in order to ensure maximum performance.
frustrations apply to all industries and can be avoided by routinely checking on your tools. Your banking relationship aligns strongly with the tool box analogy, as your tools need to be used by your banker, and the bank’s tools need to be used by you. For example, collateral, cash flow and financial strength of your company are integral items for both parties. They can be used to develop a satisfactory financing structure in the near term with forecasting models and cash flow projections critical to meeting longer term needs. The condition of these tools will impact how well the financing structure can be put in place, or, in other words, completing the job.
What's in your tool box?
There should be synergies with your banker’s tool box too. Cash flow needs should be supported by properly structured working capital financing and treasury management services. Collateral can be leveraged to support growth projections, acquisitions and if necessary, a recapitalization of the company’s balance sheet. Financial statements and forecasts must be expertly analyzed to ensure financial objectives can be met and adequately supported. Your banker should also have industry specific items in their tool box that benefit your company. For example, value-added services include M&A expertise, ESOP structuring, Wealth Management services, fraud prevention, management succession planning and financial bench-marking that are unique to the banking industry and must also be clean, accurate, reliable and up to date. I encourage you to look in your tool box to ensure the devices in it will contribute to the on-going success of your company. Similarly, your banker should be bringing their tool box to your year-end review meeting to gauge historical as well as future results. All of the tools should be used in order to repair what is broken, improve existing services and build financial security for the future. I would like to congratulate New Prince Concrete Construction for celebrating their 50 years in business and also extend a hearty congratulations to J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, and our friend Fletch Creamer, for celebrating their 95th year in business. Well done.
When looking into your tool box, you should be as certain of the items’ effectiveness as if they were hand tools themselves. There is nothing worse than pulling an item out of the box and it does not work, is obsolete, dirty or simply not the right one. These
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By: adrienne l. isacoff, florio, perrucci, steinhardt & cappelli
ontractors on public bids are often troubled by the decision of a local governmental unit to reject all bids. The contractors understandably are concerned that their unit prices have become public knowledge, or they may believe that they were entitled to award of the contract because they submitted the lowest responsible bid. But the reality is that courts routinely uphold a decision by the municipality to reject all bids and readvertise based on the assertion by the public owner that the bid specifications are being revised to meet either technical or public policy concerns. Such was the case in United Services, Inc. v. City of Newark, a recent unpublished decision by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, bearing Docket No. L-5010-16, where the Court upheld the right of the City to reject all bids that had been based on award to the lowest bidder and, instead, to engage in competitive contracting. Under the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., bids for construction contracts must be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, but other types of contracts for the procurement of specialized goods and services may be awarded through the competitive bidding process, which allows for award based on an evaluation of responses to request for proposals. N.J.S.A. 40A:11-4.4. The United Services case involved a solicitation for janitorial services at 48 municipal buildings. The prior contract had been awarded based on the low bid. The incumbent on that contract award was the lowest bidder on another bid solicitation and expected to be awarded the contract to continue providing janitorial services. The subject bid specifications suggested hours and levels of staffing for the City buildings, but did not require minimum levels. After review of the bid results, the City determined that the structure of the bids “incentivized bidders to compete on terms of who could provide the least amount of services to the City relative to the services actually sought by the City – also characterized as a “race to the bottom.” United Services at 4. The City was concerned that even though the public would benefit from a bid much lower than the budget, the City would be negatively impacted by understaffing and potential health concerns. The City then adopted a resolution directing the Division of Public Buildings to revise the bid requirements to identify the minimum level of hours of service. Those specifications were then incorporated into another round of bidding using the competitive bidding process rather than award to the lowest bidder. In order to effectuate this decision, all bids were rejected and the
low bidder lost its expected award of contract. The former incumbent and lowest bidder on the new solicitation protested the rejection of all bids. It premised its argument on the fact that Local 32BJ attempted to negotiate a Labor Peace Agreement with United Services after it submitted the low bid to the City. The decision to reject all bids and engage in competitive contracting occurred shortly after United Services decided not to engage in those negotiations. Local 32BJ then submitted a letter to the City in support of the unionized companies it represented. United Services asserted that this sequence of events evidenced favoritism, corruption and a pretextual reason for rejection of all bids.
protesting rejection of all bids continues to be uphill battle
The Court didn’t buy this argument. It reiterated the basis for evaluation of the propriety of rejection of all bids under N.J.S.A. 40A:11-13.2, which allows for wholesale rejection when the low bid substantially exceeds the municipal estimate or budget; when the project is abandoned; or “the contracting unit wants to substantially revise the specifications for goods and services.” The latter is the criteria that most often trips up the protest by bidders, whether on a procurement or a construction bid. The Court put it quite simply: “Defendant rejected all of the bids and reissued them on a competitive contract basis. It is not up to this Court to police how a municipality elects to solicit bids for janitorial contracts.” United Services at 12. TAKEAWAY Although this case involved janitorial services, the same analysis will be used by courts with regard to construction projects. While contractors may understandably be frustrated at a decision by a municipality to reject all bids unless the bids exceed budget, our courts will often grant significant leeway to the local unit if there is any basis for concluding that the decision was made in order to “substantially” revise the specifications for goods and services. If you believe that the specifications were not substantially revised and the decision to re-bid is pretextual, it is probably worth a shot to write a bid protest letter to try to convince the municipality not to take an action that is fraught with problems for the bidders. But if that protest letter is unsuccessful, litigation in court will likely be unsuccessful, too.
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an overview of the tax cuts and jobs act By: salvatore schibell, lawson, rescinio, schibell & assoc., p.c. of performing services as an employee. A specified service business is any business involving the performance of services in the fields of health, law, accounting, actuarial sciences, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services or where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of one or more employees or owners.
The marque provision in the 2017 Act is the replacement of the graduated Corporate tax rate structure topping out at a rate of 35% with a new flat rate of 21% effective for tax year 2018.
Only income that is considered effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States is eligible to be treated as qualified business income. Capital gain or loss items, dividends, interest, and certain other investment type items are also excluded from the definition of qualified business income. For service businesses the determination for the 20% deduction is made taking into consideration the taxable income limits of the individual owner.
For individuals, the current seven-bracket graduated rate structure was retained, although several rates were lowered, and the rate brackets were adjusted. The biggest change for individuals were not to the rates, but to deductions. Previously permitted deductions were lost or eliminated, but the standard deduction was expanded. Certain business deductions were eliminated or restricted as well. Of the latter category, one of the more significant is the new limitation on business interest deduction and excess business losses. The most significant new provision for pass-through entities is the deduction for qualified business income, also an enhancement to expensing of business personal property acquisitions and to write-offs to certain real property were enacted. The following is a summary of some of major sections of the act. DEDUCTION FOR QUALIFIED BUSINESS INCOME OF PASS – THROUGH ENTITIES The new Section 199A permits individuals, Trusts, and estates to deduct up to 20% of their “qualified business income” from a partnership, S corporation or sole proprietorship (including disregarded entity) as well as some other pass through entities. For each qualified trade or business, the 20% deduction cannot exceed the greater of (a) 50% of the W2 wages paid by the qualified business, or (b) 25% of wages paid and 2.5% of the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of the qualified property of the business. Qualified property is generally depreciable tangible property held by a qualified trade or business or used in the production of qualified business income and for which the depreciation period has not expired, (or in the case of short lived property, before the 10-year anniversary of its being first placed in service by the taxpayer). Further, the deduction is not available for any “specified service business” or any trade or business
NEW LIMITATION ON EXCESS BUSINESS LOSSES For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2025, the Act provides that a noncorporate taxpayer's "excess business loss" is disallowed. Under the new rule, excess business losses are not allowed for the tax year but are instead carried forward and treated as part of the taxpayer's net operating loss (NOL) carryforward in subsequent tax years. An excess business loss for the tax year is the excess of aggregate deductions of the taxpayer attributable to the taxpayer's trades and businesses over a threshold amount. The threshold amount for a tax year is $500,000 for married individuals filing jointly, and $250,000 for other individuals, with both amounts indexed for inflation, e.g. If the combined business losses for a year exceed $500,000, relating to married individual filings, the excess will be carried forward to future tax years and applied against business income. In the case of a partnership or S corporation, the provision applies at the partner or shareholder level.
he Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as passed in December 2017 bares good and not so good news as it pertains to minimizing tax liability. In this article I will review a few of the important sections of the Legislation as it pertains to businesses. As of this date, the Act requires a lot of clarity which hopefully will come soon.
ENHANCED BUSINESS ASSET EXPENSING RULES Increased Code Section 179 (Expensing Business acquisition write-off) For property placed in service in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, the maximum amount a taxpayer may expense under (Code Sec. 179) is increased to $1 million, and the phase-out threshold amount is increased to $2.5 million for assets acquired in excess of this amount. For tax years beginning after 2018, these amounts (as well as the $25,000 sport utility vehicle limitation) are indexed for inflation.
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Qualified Real Property The definition of (Code Sec. 179) property is expanded to include certain depreciable tangible personal property used predominantly to furnish lodging or in connection with furnishing lodging. The definition of qualified real property eligible for (Code Sec. 179) expensing is also expanded to include the following improvements to nonresidential real property after the date such property was first placed in service: roofs, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning property; fire protection and alarm systems; and security systems including as in prior law leasehold improvements. Section 179 property generally is new or used tangible personal property plus qualified real property.
stead of the partner level. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2022, adjusted taxable income is computed without regard to deductions allowable for depreciation, amortization, or depletion and without the former Code Sec. 199 deduction (which is repealed effective Dec. 31, 2017).
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as passed in December 2017 bears good and not so good news
100% Cost Recovery of Qualifying Business Assets (Bonus Depreciation) Under the new law, 100% first-year deduction for the adjusted basis is allowed for qualified property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2023. The additional first-year depreciation deduction is allowed for new and used property. Note prior to the law change Bonus Depreciation was only applied to new property acquisitions. Qualified property is basically defined the same as Code Section 179 property as explained above. Bonus depreciation may be used for assets not considered used in a trade or business, (i.e. real estate), as opposed to section 179 assets that must be used in a trade or business to qualify for the write-off. Bonus depreciation phases down commencing after December 31, 2022 and sunsetting after 2026. Luxury Automobile Depreciation Limits Increased For passenger automobiles placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017, in tax years ending after that date, for which the additional first-year depreciation deduction is not claimed, the maximum amount of allowable depreciation is increased to: $10,000 for the year in which the vehicle is placed in service, $16,000 for the second year, $9,600 for the third year, and $5,760 for the fourth and later years in the recovery period. For passenger automobiles placed in service after 2018, these dollar limits are indexed for inflation. For passenger autos eligible for bonus first-year depreciation, the maximum first-year depreciation allowance relating to the Bonus depreciation element remains at $8,000 resulting in an increase from $10,000 to $18,000 for first year depreciation. In addition, computer or peripheral equipment is removed from the definition of listed property, and so isn't subject to the heightened substantiation requirements that apply to listed property. LIMITS ON DEDUCTION OF BUSINESS INTEREST For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, every business, regardless of its form, is generally subject to a disallowance of a deduction for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business's adjusted taxable income. The net interest expense disallowance is determined at the tax filer level. However, a special rule applies to pass-through entitles, which requires the determination to be made at the entity level, for example, at the partnership level in-
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An exemption from these rules applies for taxpayers (other than tax shelters) with average annual gross receipts for the threetax year period ending with the prior taxable year that do not exceed $25 million. The business-interest-limit provision does not apply to certain regulated public utilities and electric cooperatives real property trades or businesses can elect out of the provision if they use ADS to depreciate applicable real property used in a trade or business. Farming businesses can also elect out if they use ADS to depreciate any property used in the farming business with a recovery period often years or more. An exception from the limitation on the business interest deduction is also provided for floor plan financing (i.e., financing for the acquisition of motor vehicles, boats, or farm machinery for sale or lease and secured by such inventory MODIFICATION OF NET OPERATING LOSS DEDUCTION For NOLs arising in tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2017, the two-year carryback and the special carryback provisions are repealed, but a two-year carryback applies in the case of certain losses incurred in the trade or business of farming. For losses arising in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, the NOL deduction is limited to 80% of taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction). Carryovers to other years are adjusted to take account of this limitation, and, except as provided below, NOLs can be carried forward indefinitely. LIKE-KIND EXCHANGES Generally effective for transfers after Dec. 31, 2017, the rule allowing the deferral of gain on like-kind exchanges is modified to allow for like-kind exchanges only with respect to real property that is not held primarily for sale. However, under a transition rule, the pre-Act like-kind exchange rules apply to exchanges of personal property if the taxpayer has either disposed of the relinquished property or acquired the replacement property on or before Dec. 31, 2017. EMPLOYERâ€™S DEDUCTION FOR FRINGE BENEFIT EXPENSES LIMITED For amounts incurred or paid after Dec. 31, 2017, deductions for entertainment expenses are disallowed, eliminating the subjective determination of whether such expenses are sufficiently business related; the current 50% limit on the deductibility of business meals is expanded to meals provided through an in-
house cafeteria or otherwise on the premises of the employer; and deductions for employee transportation fringe benefits (i.e. parking and mass transit) are denied, but the exclusion from income for such benefits received by an employee is retained. In addition, no deduction is allowed for transportation expenses that are the equivalent of commuting for employees (i.e. between the employee's home and the workplace), except as provided for the safety of the employee. NEW CREDIT FOR EMPLOYER â€“ PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE
Qualified personal service corporations, partnerships without C corporation partners, S corporations, and other pass-through entities can use the cash method without regard to whether they meet the $25 million gross receipts test, so long as the use of the method clearly reflects income. ACCOUNTING FOR INVENTORIES For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, taxpayers that meet the $25 million gross receipts can account for inventories by either (1) treats inventories as non-ÂŹincidental materials and supplies, or (2) conforms to the taxpayer's financial accounting treatment of inventories. Treating inventories as non-incidental materials requires capitalizing the inventory items, materials, and expensing the costs when the items are used or sold. CAPITALIZATION AND INCLUSION OF CERTAIN EXPENSES IN INVENTORY For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, any producer or re-seller that meets the $25 million gross receipts test is exempted from the application of Uniform Capitalization rules (UNCAP), capitalizing general and administrative expenses into inventory. The exemptions from the UNCAP rules that are not based on a taxpayer's gross receipts are retained. ACCOUNTING FOR LONG TERM CONTRACTS
amount of leave on a pro rata basis). TAXABLE YEAR OF INCLUSION Generally, for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, a taxpayer is required to recognize income no later than the tax year in which such income is considered as income on an applicable financial statement (AFS) or another financial statement under rules specified by IRS (subject to an exception for long-term contract income under (Code Sec. 460)).
For contracts entered into after Dec. 31, 2017 in tax years ending after that date, the exception for small construction contracts from the requirement to use the percentage of completion method of revenue recognition, PCM, is expanded to apply to contracts for the construction or improvement of real property if the contract: (1) is expected (at the time such contract is entered into) to be completed within two years of commencement of the contract and (2) is performed by a taxpayer that (for the tax year in which the contract was entered into) meets the $25 million gross receipts test.
For wages paid in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, but not beginning after Dec. 31, 2019, the Act allows businesses to claim a general business credit equal to 12.5% of the amount of wages paid to qualifying employees during any period in which such employees are on family and medical leave (FMLA) if the rate of payment is 50% of the wages normally paid to an employee. The credit is increased by 0.25 percentage points (but not above 25%) for each percentage point by which the rate of payment exceeds 50%. All qualifying full-time employees must be given at least two weeks of annual paid family and medical leave (all less-thanfull-time qualifying employees must be given a commensurate
production, or sale of merchandise is an income-producing factor. Under the gross receipts test, taxpayers with annual average gross receipts that do not exceed $25 million (indexed for inflation for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2018) for the three prior tax years can use the cash method.
The Act also codifies the current deferral method of accounting for advance payments for goods and services to allow taxpayers to defer the inclusion of income associated with certain advance payments to the end of the tax year following the tax year of receipt if such income also is deferred for financial statement purposes. CASH METHOD OF ACCOUNTING For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, the cash method may be used by taxpayers (other than tax shelters) that satisfy a $25 million gross receipts test, regardless of whether the purchase,
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legislative update By: zoe baldwin, director of government relations
STICKER SHOCK Released in early March, the Governor’s $37.4 billion proposed budget marks a complete departure from the previous eight years and fulfills several of Murphy’s key campaign promises. The proposal - subject to approval by the Legislature - relies on several new taxes: restoring the state sales tax to 7% from 6.625%, closing the carried interest tax loophole, and raising the marginal income tax rate on those making over $1 million to 10.75% from about nine percent. That last one – the so-called millionaire’s tax – is where things get sticky. Senate President Sweeney has supported the concept in the past, but now he and other key Democrats have stated their opposition to the increase citing the burden created by the new federal cap on the deduction for property taxes and mortgage interest. This proposal is (understandably) shaping up to be the biggest bone of contention in the weeks to come. Most exciting to our industry is that the budget proposal nearly triples funding to NJ Transit with an additional $242 million in direct state subsidy and reduces the amount it receives from the NJ Turnpike Authority by $75 million. Murphy said that this rebalancing of funds will help end the unsustainable practice of raiding capital funds to cover operating expenses, which will in turn boost the agency’s annual capital program. We’ll keep you updated as the budget negotiations progress. GET RIDES WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS Since our last article, Kevin Corbett has been appointed as the next executive director of New Jersey Transit. He previously served as Vice President for strategic development in the U.S. Northeast Region of AECOM and has a long history of working with and for transportation, shipping, and infrastructure organizations. Corbett comes well-suited for this undertaking, as his corporate background aligns with the Administration’s intent to approach agency reform from the perspective of a corporate entity in need of structural transformation, as opposed to that of a service provider. Recently, members of the UTCA board and staff held a meet and
greet with the new executive director and were impressed not only by his understanding of the broad, systemic issues facing the agency, but also the deftness with which he speaks to the procurement and project delivery challenges facing the construction community. We look forward to working with Kevin and the new Administration to bring our transit network up to par and into the 21st century. BUT WHO’S WATCHING THE WATCHERS One of the ongoing issues our industry struggles with consistently is agency accountability for transportation capital dollars. There are no clear lines of funding to track, and very little transparency between what is reported as our annual capital program and how much work actually goes to construction. Whether it’s Local Aid funding that a community applies for, receives, and then sits on for years, or funds that are used for non-capital purposes, NJ citizens deserve to know how their transportation dollars are being used. UTCA staff brought up these issues in a recent meeting with Senate President Steve Sweeney, and is now working with his office to draft legislation that will address both. On the Local Aid side, we are looking at ways to limit Local Aid applications and approvals to communities that adequately show that they are ready to go to construction immediately.
t’s just a few months into the Murphy Administration and already the newly-minted governor has made clear that it’s a new day in Trenton. Governor Murphy’s staunch and frequent support for infrastructure investment has officially put Christie-era policies and brinkmanship in the rearview mirror. With the transition report complete and Cabinet appointments ongoing, it is Governor Murphy’s first budget that will serve as the first true test of his leadership and of his relationship with the Legislature.
On the broader issue of capital program accountability, we are working to change the way that capital funds and project progress is reported. On the funding side, by adding to the State budget process an annual breakdown separating federal and state funds spent on NJDOT construction projects, our industry, and the communities we build in, will have a much clearer understanding of where our state agencies are spending the monies they collect. Similarly, we are looking to add a column to the annual capital plan that will list the specific reasons for the delay of any project listed in the prior year capital plan that did not go to construction as planned. Especially on the heels of the 23-cent gas tax increase, it is critical that NJ residents get the transportation improvements they’re paying for. We look forward to keeping you updated on these bills as we work through the drafting and introduction process. WHEELS ON THE OMNIBUS Faced once again with the threat of a federal government shutdown, both houses of Congress passed a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill on March 22. Begrudgingly signed by President Trump the next day, the spending measure will fund the federal government to September 30,
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2018. UTCA applauds Congress on the inclusion of key infrastructure priorities in the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill. The funding bill provides needed increases in funding for a range infrastructure programs, including transportation and water infrastructure. Although more work needs to be done to ensure these funds get to construction quicker and cheaper, this is a big step forward. Of interest to our industry, the omnibus bill includes $21.2 billion for infrastructure spending. The measure includes the following provisions for water infrastructure:
• $2.97 billion for EPA’s water infrastructure programs. Funding includes $2.857 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water revolving funds, which are provided directly to the states for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. This is an increase of $600 million above fiscal year 2017. • The bill supports an estimated $6 billion in new lending under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program (WIFIA) by utilizing $63 million in appropriations to finance more than 100 times that amount to accelerate investments in water projects with national and regional significance. • Funds new water programs authorized in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WINN) Act to support testing for lead contamination in schools and child care centers ($20 million), lead reduction projects in rural areas ($20 million), and water projects in communities working to improve compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act ($10 million). Transportation infrastructure also fared well in the omnibus, with funding for key transportation programs increased by $9.9 billion
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from FY17. Most notably, the Highway Trust Fund program will receive an additional $3.49 billion and be funded at $44.23 billion, the Airport Improvement Program will receive an additional $1 billion, and U.S. DOT’S Tiger Grant Program will be funded at $1.5 billion, a $1 billion increase. I DON’T WANT NO GRUDGE Early construction on a major rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey can begin this year — but with less money than expected and without the backing of the Trump Administration. Nearly a decade after the cancelation of the trans-Hudson rail tunnel known as ARC, its replacement project, Gateway, almost met the same fate. Allegedly fueled by a partisan grudge against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Trump and his administration had been actively working against the critical project for several months, going so far as to limit what funding the states could use toward the local match. The Congressional omnibus spending bill made available $541 million to Gateway with limited additional federal approvals needed. This includes approximately $388 million that is going directly to Amtrak for improvements in the NEC, as well as approximately $153 million that will go to New York and New Jersey through formula dollars. However, in the hours prior to signing the bill into law, President Trump had threatened to veto the spending bill if it included funds for Gateway, among other reasons. Although the $541 million is only about half of what leaders from New Jersey and New York originally sought, it will allow work to continue on the project. There are also additional pools of funding that Gateway is eligible to compete for, and Amtrak feels that the project will be competitive on its merits. Funds will be used to jump start Phase 1 of the Gateway project, and we will keep you updated as this critical project progresses.
harrassment in the workplace...act now! By: jay sciortino, construction risk partners
ver the years this column has dealt with the many issues relating to loss control, safety and prevention of injury. All who read this are well aware of the dangers of our business. This is heavy construction! Big machines, high bridges, deep excavations, speeding vehicles on roadways…I mean you could write volumes on these exposures alone. I don’t want to get too carried away here because we all know about these things, and the dangers associated.
Let’s start by looking at the personnel makeup of most contractors. You have men and women in the field, as well as in the office or trailer. You have field people dealing with office people and vice-versa. In addition, the entire workforce has literally become a melting pot of different races, creeds, nationalities and sexual orientations, all working together under what are normally difficult conditions. This is construction, and you’re talking hard work, tight scheduling and stressful situations happening most all the time. Certainly in the heat of battle there’s always the possibility of high tensions between coworkers, supervisors and owners. In a perfect world, everyone would get along with each other; however, this is not fantasy land. Let’s face it, there are going to be trying times when the wrong things are said, or when a person misinterprets what has been said to them. Most situations are not intentional, but sometimes they are. What we’re talking about here are the issues associated with sexual harassment, workplace harassment or hostile workplace. Lawsuits associated with employment related claims have increased steadily over the past twenty years. Employees who feel they are being mistreated by their employers no longer hesitate to file a complaint, or lawsuit. We’ve all seen or heard about the high profile cases against large corporations, however, the claims against small employers have also steadily increased, along with the cost associated with these claims. No need to shock you by spewing all the multi-million dollar settlements and judgments. Needless to say, six figure results are very common. In fact, the average employment practices claim has increased from $35,000 to $200,000 since 1997. On top of this, legal fees will easily run approximately $25,000-$50,000 annually. The types of claims we’re talking about involve employees who feel that they have been mistreated. The alleged mistreatment could be by the employer (in many instances a supervisor), but it’s just as common to see allegations where the incident involves coworkers. These claims normally involve racial issues or gender issues (sexual harassment). I’ve seen a fair number of claims involving alleged abusive treatment of one employee to another. In most instances the employer was un-
As with any good safety program, heightened awareness is the key. Supervisors and managers need to have “rabbit ears” and keep on the lookout for behavior that appears abusive or inappropriate. While there are literally volumes on this topic, here are some basic steps that will help you avoid a situation and assist you in your defense if one arises: • Develop a program – There’s a lot of good information out there to assist you in the development of a program. Chubb has a good website, and even provides a Loss Prevention Guidelines Manual. The link is: https://www2.chubb.com/us-en/business-insurance/employment-practices-liability-loss-prevention-program.aspx • Conduct training with supervisors and managers – The training should encompass awareness and sensitivity. In fact, some states (CA, CT & ME) mandate training for employers. Most of the other states strongly encourage employers to conduct training. I mention this fact to make you aware of the developing trends being imposed on employers. • Employee communication - As an employer, you must make it clear to every employee that inappropriate or abusive behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstances. You must have an “open door” policy to address complaints, even if the complaint seems ridiculous or unfounded by fact. Your best protection is to have a strong policy and strong culture that becomes standard operating procedure for your company. Obviously, the idea is to avoid potential problems and actual claims. As for other risk management techniques, Employment Practices Liability Insurance is also available from any number of carriers. While many of you already have this coverage, those who don’t should consider it. I just want to emphasize, defense costs per claim can be upwards of $50,000 per year, and so even if you’ve done nothing wrong, defense is still expensive. Check with your agent/broker.
For my contribution this issue, I want to delve into one of the hottest topics to hit the media in years….harassment in the workplace. And in case you haven’t heard, right now there could not be a more appropriate or timely topic, especially in light of the #MeToo movement.
aware of the situation until the claim was filed, but unfortunately, that is not a solid defense.
Finally, I think we all have to recognize that times have changed. We can still drive our workers hard and have high expectations; however, we have to be more aware of our employee’s needs and feelings. They should be able to go to work and deal with the rigors of construction and not have to worry about being harassed or humiliated. At the end of the day, you want your workers to get home safely, and you also want them to be comfortable with their environment. Having healthy and happy workers is the right policy!!
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the nlrb continues to flip-flop on joint employment
By: Ronald Tobia, Catherine Wells & Chelsea Jasnoff, chiesa, shahinian & giantomasi PC's
The purpose underlying the joint employer doctrine is to ensure that employees have the right and opportunity to bargain with entities who share control over essential terms and conditions of their employment, although not the “primary employer” of those employees. The lynchpin of the joint-employer analysis is whether the entities “share or codetermine” matters that involve the essential terms and conditions of employment for a single workforce. See Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc., and Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brother Hood of Teamsters, 362 NLRB No.185, at pp.8-9 (2015). How that concept is applied, however, has been in flux for the past several years due to the varying composition and views of the members of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”). The composition of the Board varies mostly according to political alliances. Indeed, on February 26, 2018, the Board, which has flip-flopped on the appropriate standard, revisited the issue of what constitutes joint employment under the NLRA, and turned on its head a decision made less than two months earlier. The Board was compelled to revisit its ruling in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, Ltd., et al and Upshaw, et al., Cases 25-CA-163189 (December 14, 2017), after a report was issued by the Inspector General criticizing the Board’s decision on the grounds that one Board member’s participation in that decision was improper due to a potential conflict of interest. Ultimately, a unanimous Board vacated the December 2017 decision in Hy-Brand, reinstating, at least for the time being, the 2015 test established by Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc., and Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brother Hood of Teamsters, 362 NLRB No.185 (2015).
Hy-Brand, which was decided in December 2017 by a Republican majority of the Board, overturned the more liberal, pro-employee joint employer test the Board had adopted in Browning– Ferris just over two years earlier. Not surprisingly, the NLRB’s Hy-Brand ruling was promulgated at the close of the term of Board Chairman Philip Miscimarra, a Republican who was one of two dissenters in the Obama-era Browning-Ferris case. In HyBrand, the Board rejected the Browning-Ferris standard, which, according to the Board, improperly expanded the definition of “employer” to include an entity that exercised indirect control or control that was limited or routine, or an entity that merely reserved the right to control over employees, but never in fact exercised that right. According to the Board, the Browning-Ferris standard “removed all limitations on what kind or degree of control over essential terms and conditions of employment may be sufficient to warrant a joint-employer finding.” Hy-Brand, Cases 25-CA-163189 at p.7. After extensive criticism of the Browning-Ferris standard on various legal and policy grounds, the Board replaced the Browning-Ferris standard with a more pro-employer test. The pro-employer test pronounced in Hy-Brand required evidence that the putative joint employers have actually exercised joint control over essential employment terms such as recruitment, hiring, wages, discipline and the other terms and conditions of employment (as opposed to merely having reserved the right to exercise control), and that the control exercised is “direct and “immediate” (as opposed to “limited and routine.”). Hy-Brand, Cases 25CA-163189 at p.5. The Board believed this test to be superior to the “open-ended” Browning-Ferris standard, because, among other reasons, it established “a clearly discernible and rational line between what does and does not constitute a joint employer relationship . . .,” thereby fostering more certainty with respect to labor relations. Hy-Brand, Cases 25-CA-163189 at pp.17-18.
magine your business, a non-union shop, contracts with a unionized staffing service that provides employees to work in your business facility or to drive your company’s trucks. Imagine also that your business, pursuant to an agreement with the service provider, retains the right to set schedules, wages and recommend discipline or termination of employment for the suppliers’ workforce, although such rights are never exercised. Under this and other scenarios, your business could be exposed to obligations imposed by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Retaining the right to control the terms and conditions of employment for another entity’s employees (even if that control is not exercised) could constitute a joint employer relationship with that entity, thereby creating a duty to collectively bargain as well as other obligations.
As a consequence of the Board’s decision to vacate Hy-Brand, for the time being, the NLRB will potentially analyze putative joint employer relationships under the more employee-friendly Browning-Ferris standard. Under that standard, which represents a dramatic departure from decades of prior Board precedent, joint employer status will be imposed on an entity that merely reserves the right to control, even if it has never exercised that control. Additionally, joint employer liability will be imposed on an entity that exercises only “limited or routine” control over employees, or exerts such control over employees only
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indirectly, i.e., through an intermediary. Thus, for the time being, it will be easier for entities to be found “joint employers,” meaning that they will be required to bargain with the union with respect to a single workforce and potentially exposed to unfair labor practice charges. This has the potential to complicate the bargaining process, as bargaining over employment terms will be parceled out to two or more different entities. Moreover, entities that exercise only indirect control, or merely possess contractually reserved control, will be treated as the primary employer for purposes of labor disputes that are not directly their own. That is, employees will be able to picket or apply other coercive pressure to either or both of the joint employers as they choose. However, the recently-reinstated Browning-Ferris standard for joint employment will likely be short-lived. First, if President Trump’s nominee, John Ring, is confirmed for the fifth seat on the Board a Republican majority will be reestablished, which favors a more stringent standard to establish joint employment similar to the standard enunciated in Hy-Brand. In addition, the United States House of Representatives has passed a bill, which is now before the Senate, entitled “Save the Local Business Act.” This legislation would amend both the NLRA as well as the Fair Labor Standards Act to state that an entity will only be considered a joint-employer with another entity if it “directly, actual-
ly and immediately exercises significant control over essential terms and conditions of employment, such as hiring employees, discharging employees, determining individual employee rates of pay and benefits, day-to-day supervision of employees, assigning individual work schedules, positions and tasks or administering employee discipline.” H.R. 3441. In other words, this legislation would abolish the Browning-Ferris standard once and for all, with no threat of the Board ever reviving it. Whether a business is found to be a joint employer with a separate and possibly independent entity could have a significant impact with regard to an employer’s obligations to its employees. In most cases, the determination of whether one entity is in a joint employment relationship could turn on the business relationships between various entities, how those relationships are structured, the contractual arrangements between such entities and, most importantly, the control that an entity may have (but not necessarily exercise) over the employees of another entity. To avoid inadvertently exposing a business entity to unanticipated obligations under the NLRA, those charged with negotiating, reviewing and executing agreements with separate entities involving the provision of staff must pay particular care to these issues.
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new prince concrete construction celebrates 50 years in business By: anthony attanasio, executive director
rom modest beginnings to realizing the American Dream: throughout it all, Pat Maisano and his family have remained humble. 50 years of growth and success for the family business keeps the Maisano family smiling as they navigate the complicated world of construction in New Jersey. Their positive attitude, willingness to take risks to succeed, and their incredible work ethic has produced five decades of achievement for New Prince Concrete Construction. In 1963, Pat’s father John began Prince Concrete Construction, which mainly focused on site work and curb installation. Five years later, his son Pat graduated from high school and along with his brother Carmelo the father and sons formed a new company, New Prince Concrete Construction Company Inc. For several years John, Pat and Carmelo worked exclusively with private clients. After getting stiffed on several payments, Pat suggested that they take New Prince into the public sector and begin bidding on municipal work. In 1975, John Maisano passed away at the young age of 59. Just before the passing of their father, Carmelo suffered a heart attack and was not able to continue in the business. Pat was forced to take full control of the company and brought his wife Rosemarie
NJDOT Project Route 183 over NJ Transit Railroad and Netcong Circle (Route 46) in the Borough of Netcong was completed in May 2014.
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The Maisano Family, pictured left to right, Maria Sudol, Rosemarie Maisano, Pat Maisano, Vincent Maisano and John Maisano
into the operation to take over as Office Manager. Rosemarie immediately proved to be top notch in the office which allowed Pat to focus on the field operations and growing the company. Throughout the seventies and eighties, Pat and Rosemarie grew the family business at a steady pace. New Prince took on larger jobs for municipal and county agencies. The company began to deliver more complex intersection jobs handling widenings, drainage, signals, curbs, and sidewalks. To accommodate New Jersey’s growing population, the public sector began a mad dash to increase the capacity of its already taxed road network. Under a state-run contract to deliver intersection improvements throughout the State, New Prince completed dozens of intersection improvements in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union counties. This jump in the company’s volume created a need for greater investment in both employees and equipment. So in 1985, Pat Maisano founded Maisano Construction as an equipment company to work in tandem with New Prince Concrete Construction. New Prince embarked on a new challenge when it began highway construction in the 1990s. In 1991 New Prince landed its first state job, a $2 million project for NJDOT removing concrete joints on Route 9. After successfully completing that job, New Prince began to handle larger linear road reconstruction and rehabilitation jobs for the NJDOT and the Highway Authority. In 1996, the company landed what was its largest contract to date. The firm was low bidder on the Garden State Parkway Interchange 172 Park & Ride Project. The $5 million job saw the company build the parking lots at the Montvale Service Area and the reconstruction of the interchange 172 entrance & exit ramps. On
NJDOT Route 9w Project which included the realignment and reconstruction of approximately 2.5 Miles of Route 9w through Englewood Cliffs AKA “The Trillion DolIn 1998, the next chapter in the Maisano lar Mile”. In 2005, the firm built a $6 milstory began when Pat’s oldest son John lion dollar brand new entrance and exit for graduated from NJIT with his B.S. in Civil the New Jersey Turnpike’s Interchange 12. Engineering. John and his younger brothThen in 2008, the firm took the next step er Vince, who joined the company in 2001 when it won a $16.5 million bridge reconafter graduating from Farleigh Dickinson struction contract on Route 5 in Palisades University with a B.S. in Construction Park, the reconstruction of Route 9w over Engineering Technology, really began I95 at the George Washington Bridge in working for the family business at much Fort Lee and the $12 million Route 183 & younger ages. The boys began working 46 Circle Elimination project in Netcong. around the yard and doing odds and ends The Netcong job proved to be an incredwith their dad starting in their early teens. ible challenge as the project was nestled While the boys knew they wanted to grow in between the side of a mountain and a up and join the family business, Pat made NJ TRANSIT train line in a town with an - Pat Maisano no assumptions but did lay down the rules. inferior drainage system. Working closely “I never pushed my boys to join me in the with the Department of Transportation, business. But I told them they couldn’t join NJ TRANSIT, and the Borough of Netcong, New Prince navithe business until they graduated college with a degree!” Both gated the extremely difficult physical constraints and hurdles of boys had been working in the field every summer for the compa- the job while also managing excellent community relations with ny. While in college, John started running his own jobs. He knew the town. he was ready for this new challenge because he had already spent several years working on every aspect of the company’s construc- The Maisanos are very proud of how they manage relationships tion projects. “If you don’t know how to do a job, how can you with the host communities of their projects. They always seek tell a crew how to do it?” Having come up through the ranks, to engage directly with the town officials and constituents with Maisano’s crews took to him as a project leader immediately. The a focus on customer service. The company’s vast portfolio of same would be evidenced by Vince as both of the Maisano sons municipal and county roadwork, combined with their ability to were full time and taking the company to the next level heading return to towns where they previously completed projects and receive a warm welcome, gives them a great sense of pride. The into the new century. Maisanos also smile as they return to rebuild projects that they By 2001, with Pat, John, and Vince now fully engaged in field built several decades ago. The firm is currently rebuilding Washoperations and business development, the company grew and ington Avenue in Carlstadt, a project that they built to the town’s reached new heights. The size and scope of their portfolio be- satisfaction 25 years ago in 1993. They’ve even stood up to projcame increasingly complex and impressive. In 2001 New Prince ect owners on behalf of the local community in order to do the Concrete won a project to reconstruct interchange 165 and right thing. While working on Route 46 for NJDOT, New Prince expand all four commuter lots on the Garden State Parkway stood shoulder to shoulder with Little Ferry to ensure that a safein Paramus. In 2002, New Prince won the Route 1 & 9 Circle ty related striping request made by the town was approved by the Elimination project in Ridgefield. The project contained many Department. By managing community relations in real time, the difficult elements including extensive retaining walls and un- firm has had great success building difficult projects in densely derground structures. In 2003, the company was awarded the populated areas. the heels of that successful bid, New Prince secured its first interstate project on the $2.5 million Route 80 Interchange 58 job.
Bergen County Project Kinderkamack Road Improvements in the Borough of Emerson was completed in November 2017.
"I never pushed my boys to join me in the business. But I told them they couldn't join the business until they graduated college with a degree!"
In recent years, New Prince has been delivering increasingly high-profile public and private projects throughout New Jersey. They completed a $3.5 million project for NJ TRANSIT at the new Westmont Station which included major site work, parking lots, lighting, drainage, fencing and decorative work. Due to the firm’s extensive experience in streetscape and beautification projects at the local level, they were ideally suited to handle the aesthetic aspects of the brand new facility at Westmont. New Prince also performs all of its own paving which makes them attractive to clients and competitive in several markets. Around the same time as the Westmont Project, New Prince was also building a major federally funded project for Essex County. The $26 million project had New Prince rebuilding a county road through the South Mountain Reservation that required extensive stone mason work and several rounds of approvals from the State His-
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toric Preservation Office. In addition to Westmont and the Essex County job, New Prince also completed the Kinderkamack Road project for Bergen County in the Borough of Emerson. The project was difficult due to the heavy traffic volumes on this major thorofare. New Prince handled major drainage improvements, two NJ TRANSIT at-grade crossing improvements, signal upgrades, and two intersection widenings/realignments. The County was dealing with cars being struck by trains due to design issues at several of the intersections and railroad crossings. New Prince, working with the County and the project engineer, implemented several design changes and value engineering modifications to deliver the project on time and within the County’s budget. New Prince is now embarking on a $20 million DOT project on Route 71 in Asbury Park that will include a full road reconstruction with new drainage, lighting, signals, and utility work. The future looks very bright for New Prince Concrete Construction. The company which started with eight employees now employs 45 people. Many of these employees have been with the company 10, 20, and in some cases 30+ years. Shortly after graduating from the University of Hartford in 2005, Pat and Rosemarie’s daughter Maria Sudol joined the New Prince team to work along-side her mother and currently serves as office manager and EEO officer. The Maisano family continues to find new ways to improve and grow the family business. Over the years, New Prince continued to diversify which allowed the company to stay busy despite fluctuations in various markets. With a good eye for details, New Prince began to get more involved with the UTCA by aiding the Association’s contract specifications work. Through their construction consultant Ed Nyland, New Prince began to suggest contract specification changes for NJDOT projects to UTCA. Many of these suggestions led to UTCA successfully persuading the NJDOT to make changes to their standard specifications. After several years working to improve specifications for the industry, John Maisano, who by now had risen to Executive
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The 2015 road resurfacing program and Ballentine Drive improvements project encompassed installation of new concrete curbing, milling and paving of various streets for the Borough of North Haledon.
Vice President, was nominated and elected to serve on the UTCA Board of Directors in 2016. Both John and Vince are participating in the newly formed UTCA Young Professionals Committee and New Prince has become active in the Association’s political advocacy as well. After 50 successful years in the business, Pat knows his sons are ready to take the company to new heights. He and Rosemarie are grateful for their blessings and know that it was hard work and not being afraid to take risks that allowed New Prince to grow and succeed. As Pat reflects on the 50th Anniversary of his company, he puts it like this, “You need to love the work and be willing to put in the hours. You need to learn the work better than your employees; otherwise how can you teach them or give orders? And finally, you can’t be afraid to tackle difficult jobs!” These philosophies and beliefs have guided New Prince for 50 years, and we here at the UTCA wish Pat, Rosemarie, John, Vince, and Maria 50 more years of great fortune and growth.
J. Fletcher Creamer & son celebrating 95 years of success By: robert flock, j. fletcher creamer & son
ounded in 1923 and celebrating 95 years in business, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc., continues to be a leader in the construction industry across the United States. When you are in a very competitive business for nearly a century there is a good chance you are doing something right. We are still the nationally recognized, full service company that finds itself on the ENR TOP 400 Contractors list year after year. We think we are doing it right. Amazing Company You can travel far and wide and you will not find a company that matches the very wide variety of types of businesses that Creamer performs. Our corporate portfolio is a testament to the Creamer family that has always had its eye on the ball and still maintains a thirst for that new business model that will diversify us even more. The variety of work our employees perform includes roads and bridges, pile installation, marine work, shoring and excavating, guide rail and sign structures, directional drilling and jack & bore, utility installations (water, sewer, gas, electric, telecommunications), fiber optic, pipeline rehabilitation (slip lining, cement mortar lining, bursting, internal joint seals), renewable energy, parking garages, drilled shafts, blasting, emergency work, patch paving for utilities, substations and power plants. These lines of business have brought us to 39 states over the years. The Beginning Despite its many initiatives in a variety of areas, the Company, like many contractors, started off small and simple. In the early 1920’s, when J. Fletcher Creamer started his business, he owned a single Ford rack truck, which he used to make deliveries and perform various routine jobs. It wasn’t until a decade later that Creamer worked its way into major projects in New Jersey and New York. One of those notable projects involved hauling excavated materials during the construction of the George Washington Bridge. Over the next 30 years, the Company also became more involved in highway work and later began to develop relationships with water and gas utilities as well as telecommunica-
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Pictured left to right, Dale, Fletch, Jr. and Glenn Creamer
tions companies. This remarkable company continues to flourish with the fifth generation of Creamers. Branching Out In the 1980’s Creamer began to really venture out in to a new market with underground infrastructure work, specializing in cleaning and cement mortar lining of water mains insitu as well as the manufacturing and installation of internal pipe seals. This particular type of work meant a lot of traveling for the crews and management teams. For a long time, Creamer was the contractor performing the largest volume of cleaning and cement mortar lining in the United States. It was in the 80’s that Creamer took on the prominent job of installing the artificial turf in Giants Stadium. The venture into the guide rail and sign business also began in the 80’s. Guide rail projects have been completed around the country including long haul projects in Pittsburgh and a design-build project in Florida. Hundreds of variable message signs have been installed by Creamer crews. In the 1990’s, as trenchless construction practices became more accepted in various applications, Creamer moved into pipe bursting, directional drilling and slip lining. Directional drilling (HDD) to install gas, electric, telecommunications, water and fiber optics took over as a new and exciting time for the Company. HDD has become such a standard part of our business that at times we offer HDD to a client even when not in the scope of work. Jobs Away From Home Long haul fiber projects became the norm and were installed in
California, Washington, Colorado, Tennessee, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. In New Jersey hundreds of miles of conduit and fiber for the Ezpass toll collection system was installed by Creamer. Since the company involvement began in this arena, thousands of miles of duct and fiber have been installed by Creamer crews.
have been innovators. Creamer employs knowledgeable and ambitious people who have the client and the Company’s reputation in mind. Employees adhere to the corporate core values of Safety, Quality, Reliability, Integrity and Productivity.”
Countless miles of water mains have been installed in the northeast from Massachusetts to Maryland and Washington DC and culminating with water work in California including the installation of 42” pipe in the Mojave Desert.
Always Available For many years the company has responded to emergency projects. Whether it be a utility break or a road collapse we have responded with the right people, the right equipment and the right attitude. If there is a major pipeline failure in New Jersey you can rest assured that a crew from J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. is probably on the job making repairs.
To keep pace with the never-ending drive to maintain a safe work environment, the Company opened a Leadership and Training Center in Wall, New Jersey in 2017. This facility, operated full time, provides an introduction for new employees to all the corporate polices. Specific hands on training is also available for excavation, shoring, welding, confined space and other construction activities. Creamer crews are scheduled for periodic refresher training throughout the year. Giving Back J. Fletcher Creamer & Son Inc. has a history of close affiliations with local communities. Whether through the philanthropy of the family foundation, the funding of college scholarships for
Upon entering the 21st century Creamer found another avenue to pursue and that was the renewable energy market. Small wind projects were completed and numerous solar farms were installed. The most recent foray into diversification has been in the utility mark out business. This business enterprise responds to the One Call in New Jersey.
One word describes our success.......................Reputation!
After responding to events at Ground Zero in New York immediately after ‘911’ Creamer assisted numerous towns with manpower and equipment for their individual ‘911’ memorials in the years since that fateful day. The Company maintains a very large fleet of modern equipment and a work force of professional and dedicated employees. There are offices in Hackensack, Linden, Wall and Folsom, New Jersey and Beltsville, Maryland. For over 20 years there was an office in Sylmar California. How do we do It? Creamer has been able to remain successful by being adaptable to the ever-changing economy and methods of construction. We
Aerial view of Weehawken Park
students of employees or volunteering time to serve on charitable boards, the Creamers have been a part of giving back for decades. The Company also prides itself on its many long-time employees and multi-generation employee families working for the Company. In 2016, after a lot of thought and consideration by the family, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. was acquired by APi Group of New Brighton, Minnesota. As we move past the seamless transition not much has changed. Fletch Creamer Jr. remains the CEO and Dale Creamer the Vice President overseeing the business. Joseph T. Walsh continues as the President. We still maintain the ‘Creamer Brown’ color and the distinctive hard hat logo and we still proudly display an American flag on every piece of equipment.
Baldwin Avenue viaduct for Hudson Bergen Light Rail
Most importantly, we continue to be thankful for our existing client relationships. We look forward to adding new ones and of course the celebration of 100 years in business in 2023.
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new jersey's major surface water reservoirs - in good hands By: dan kennedy, director of environmental & utility operations
magine this: you live in a low-area adjacent to major dam impounding billions of gallons of water behind it. After significant rainfall, the reservoir has filled beyond its capacity and erosion has put the primary and emergency spillways at risk, leading to the potential for a catastrophic failure of the man-made dam. You and 188,000 of your neighbors are served an evacuation order. 23,000 National Guardsman are put on call for immediate deployment to help with evacuation and relief efforts in the event of a failure of the dam. Imagine further that just over 10 years ago, a report recommending an upgrade and refurbishment of this dam was rejected as unnecessary by federal and state regulators.
UTCA members know the value of proactive investment when it comes to their own businesses. UTCA advocates for the same type of approach for all public and private water utilities, including those agencies responsible for the management of the state’s water supply. This goes double for major surface water reservoirs, that serve multiple public purposes and if not managed properly, could be a significant risk to downstream communities. According to the recently published NJ Water Supply Master Plan, our state has 21 major surface water supply reservoirs that millions of residents and thousands of businesses rely on every day. Unlike California, NJ does not have a “wet season,” instead receiving precipitation steadily throughout the calendar year. In turn, our reservoirs were designed to capitalize on our geographic and climatological advantages, storing water accumulated during relatively wet periods for use when either consumption is high or other water sources are pressed. Like many other early-industrialized states, surface water adjacent to our cities and first ring suburbs was so polluted that developing upstream options to impound and transmit raw water became an essential task.
NJ has a system in place that greatly minimizes the chances of Oroville Lake scenario playing out in our state. Here is what makes NJ different. Man-made dams are regulated by the NJDEP and are classified by their relative potential for property damage and/or loss of life should a dam fail. Ranging from a Class IV (Small-Dam Low-Hazard Potential) to a Class I (High-Hazard Potential) dam, each owner must comply with specific safety standards, which include periodic inspections to identify conditions that may adversely affect the safety and functionality of the dam and its appurtenant structures. NJDEP has enforcement capabilities and can pursue legal action if the owner does not comply. In addition, “dam failure” is a required element for all County Hazard Mitigation Plans. The process of developing these plans includes engagement with local communities so that risks are understood and managed to the extent practical. So, NJ has a safety net and can force actions (including construction projects) to minimize the risk of dam failure. This was something that California was either unable or unwilling to do. Owners of high-hazard dams in NJ understand the risks and almost always work professionally with NJDEP to meet the mutual goal of avoiding disaster. One example is the Round Valley Reservoir in Clinton (Hunterdon County) operated by the NJ Water Supply Authority (NJWSA).
This was the case in California in Butte, Yuba, and Sutter counties February of last year. The dam of a large lake (Oroville Lake) had its main and emergency spillways so damaged that a complete failure was within the reasonable range of outcomes. This became national news. This dam, an earthen embankment on the Feather River, is used for flood control, water storage, hydroelectric power and water quality improvement. The economic and cultural impact in this region was staggering and will burden this region for quite some time. In earnest, this could have been avoided with a decision to make an investment to upgrade the dam structures. The costs of proactive investment now look like a bargain compared to the costs of the crisis.
Construction of these assets began in the 19th century, and many of these reservoirs still include dams that were constructed over 50 years ago. Although these reservoirs were built primarily as raw water supply banks, many have grown to serve other community functions, often doubling as recreational / scenic assets, minor flood control, and to a lesser extent, energy production. Dams are critical assets to any reservoir and are considered by many to be the lynchpin for NJ’s water supply.
Formed in the 1960s in response to significant periods of drought, the Round Valley Reservoir was created when the state constructed three large earthen structures (two dams and one dike) that met with the surrounding mountain ridges of the surrounding valley. With a 55-billion-gallon capacity, this 2,350-acre reservoir is the State’s largest water supply reservoir. Designed solely for water supply purposes but managed for recreational activities as well, this is a key asset for central NJ’s drinking water. The NJWSA operates and maintains this asset. As such, it is responsible for working with NJDEP’s Dam Safety Program to ensure the structural health of the reservoir structures. This 50+ year old asset was built to design standards and construction techniques that are
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The project will be broken into phases, with the major construction elements (grouting, dredging and embankment construction) starting in late 2018 and continuing through 2019-2020. Early phases of the work could be bid by this summer. Companies that are interested in receiving email notifications about NJWSAâ€™s bidding opportunities should notify the NJWSA contract manager at email@example.com. You will need to provide your Company name and address, email address, and indicate the product type and/or services you want to be notified of. If you have any issues, please call UTCA and we will help you resolve them. NJWSA is a well-run operation and we anticipate they will be able to manage a fair and successful construction process. now obsolete. The NJWSA hired Gannet Fleming and convened a panel of world renowned dam safety experts to advise on how to best minimize any risks to downstream communities and extend the operating life of the reservoir. The outcome was a recommendation to set forth on a large-scale rehabilitation of the three earthen structures (grouting and embankment modifications), dredging and other ancillary infrastructure improvements. This proactive recommendation was followed, and the project is now in design.
NJWSA has hired Schnabel Engineering as the Engineer of Record for the project. The $75M project is being fully funded through revenue generated by the sale of water to bulk water purchasers. The NJWSA has received approval for funding of a construction loan from the NJ-I Bank (aka the NJEIT) for the costs of the entire project. NJ has not only accepted the recommendation for proactive investment to minimize risk to the public and extend the useful life of this critical asset, it is helping fund the investment through the I-Bank.
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More information of the Round Valley Reservoir Refurbishment Project can be found at: www.roundvalleyproject.com All the other high-hazard surface water reservoirs in this state are subject to the same standards. Additional similar construction projects for several other major dams could be in the works, given their date of construction and the need for the associated reservoirs to continue operating as reliable water supply sources long into the future. UTCA will be tracking major projects and doing our best to ensure that members are aware of upcoming bidding opportunities related to this necessary work. Those wishing for NJ to be more like California in terms of its performance on environmental issues should apply caution. I would bet those living downstream of Oroville Lake in California would beg to differ.
By: nancy damato, rda benefit services
he Urgent Care clinic model began in the 1990s and has become more mainstream in recent years. Driven largely by frustration over long waiting times at the ER and difficulty finding available appointments with a primary care physician, urgent care clinics have provided a viable alternative that can provide patients easier access to the care they need. Rapid advances in technology have spawned the growth of another convenient alternative to traditional health care options – Telemedicine. According to Mercer, 59 percent of large employers offered health insurance that provided telemedicine services in 2017. And many health plans for all market segments are now including telemedicine as part of their portfolio of services. The Benefits of Telemedicine Telehealth services allow patients to consult with a board-certified health professional about their condition 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Services are provided using real-time audio and video; and in order for telemedicine providers to be reimbursed by insurers, the software they use to connect with patients must be secure, HIPAA-compliant, encrypted, and of similar quality to in-person visits.
What Health Conditions can be Addressed with Telemedicine? Telemedicine can be used to help treat patients with urgent, but non-emergency conditions, including:
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Ear, Nose and Throat Conditions
• Allergies • Conjunctivitis
Urinary Tract Infections
Sprains, Strains, and other Sports Injuries
Prescriptions and Refills
Telemedicine is “on-demand” health care, allowing patients to access a provider without having to drive to a doctor’s office or urgent care center and without the usual wait times to see someone. This service is especially beneficial in urgent care situations, which by their very nature, arise unexpectedly. Patients can connect with a health professional immediately from the comfort of their own home. Caregivers, with prior permission from the parents, can access care for children under their care. And this service can even be accessed during the work day, saving employees from unnecessary time out of the office. Telemedicine is also a convenient way to access care while on vacation or out of state on business.
Less severe chronic conditions can also be managed through telemedicine. Examples include arthritis, asthma, sleep apnea, and chronic skin conditions. These and similar conditions can be managed using remote equipment such as heart monitoring devices, blood pressure monitors, and glucose monitoring devices. While there are a large number of health concerns that can be addressed by telemedicine, it cannot be used in all circumstances. If you have an emergency situation, such as chest pains, bleeding, trauma, unstable vitals, and fainting, you should go directly to a hospital or clinic.
Another key benefit of telemedicine is cost savings. The average cost of an urgent care visit is around $150. Emergency room visits for the same health conditions can cost much, much more. The average cost for telehealth services for patient paying cash is only around $40 or $50, which is about one-third the cost of an in-person urgent care visit.
Telemedicine is a rapidly growing sector of the health care market that provides affordable and efficient treatment for non-emergency conditions. With so many people using health plans with high deductibles, taking advantage of telemedicine is an efficient source of care. Telemedicine also has increased access to healthcare for those in rural areas. Surveys have also shown a high level of patient satisfaction with telehealth, as the quality of care delivered through telemedicine is as good as an in-person doctor visit.
Given the rising costs of health care, telemedicine is a service that can save consumers a lot of time and money. This is a major reason that telemedicine is now a part of many health plans. Telemedicine can also be purchased as a separate service. Either way, it gives employees access to a wide range of telehealth services for their entire family.
technology and healthcare: The growth of telemedicine
The Future of Telemedicine
With the cost of healthcare under more scrutiny than ever, the role that telemedicine will play as an alternative to traditional care is only just beginning to evolve. In a 2014 study, Towers Watson determined that telehealth has the potential to generate $6 billion in annual healthcare cost savings. The many advantages of telemedicine are a true indication that it is definitely here to stay.
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By: ryan scannell, the graham company
onstruction is often cited as one of the most dangerous industries in the country. According to the Reports of Fatalities and Catastrophes Archive from the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 200 construction workers died on the job in less than four months in 2017. A great deal of these injuries were the result of on-site hazards related to heavy machinery, scaffolding and contact with equipment that often requires extensive safety training.
2. Mentor programs: One of the most efficient ways to instill workplace safety habits in new employees is through mentorship programs. Pairing new workers with those who have superb safety practices can help to teach the recently-hired employees about the proper policies and procedures, while also allowing them to benefit from the knowledge of an experienced colleague. For employees new to the construction sector, this mentor/mentee relationship can be especially helpful.
Unfortunately, employees who are still acclimating to the job site and project-specific safety procedures are more likely to be injured at work. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one-third of occupational injuries and illnesses experienced within the construction industry occurred within the workerâ€™s first year of employment.
3. Diverse training: Because individuals naturally absorb information at different paces and through various learning methods, a comprehensive safety training program should incorporate a variety of teaching tactics. For example, classroom instruction combined with real-life practice or simulated training software can be utilized.
To help reduce the increased risk of injury for recently-hired or less experienced employees, construction companies can consider implementing the below strategies to ensure their workers and jobsites are as safe as possible.
four tips for new employee safety on construction sites
4. Stop-work procedures: Stop work orders are designed to suspend operations when there is a perceived threat on the jobsite. All employees should be taught to recognize when an unsafe behavior or dangerous condition is identified and should be encouraged to speak up when such behavior or condition presents itself. For stopwork procedures to be beneficial, it is up to management to promote the program and make sure employees know it can be used without repercussions. By implementing the above guidelines, construction companies can rest assured that they are taking the appropriate steps to ensure their less experienced workers, along with more tenured employees, fully understand all project safety measures and know how to transfer this knowledge into actionable precautions. Consulting your insurance broker as a trusted partner can also help to identify solutions that are tailored to your specific operational risks, helping to reduce the probability of an accident.
1. Colored hard hats: While different colored hard hats are traditionally utilized to identify various project teams such as road crews or supervisors, it is also a good practice for site safety that new or temporary employees wear specific colored hard hats. This allows these workers to be easily identified by all team members who can then pay special attention to their whereabouts, ensure they are following proper safety guidelines and help to monitor their responsibilities.
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