Tilcon-Connecticut Inc. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Tilcon-Connecticut Inc.

152 Black Rock Avenue
New Britain

Company Perspectives

We all proudly look back over the accomplishments of Tilcon and forward with the confidence that the company we have seen grow and develop is still based upon the traditions of the past: environment, community, quality, experience and a solid reputation for getting the job done well. We hold the future with equal importance and with the pride in knowing that years from now, future generations will walk these same paths and know that their mothers and fathers had a hand in building a safe and accessible world for them to enjoy.

History of Tilcon-Connecticut Inc.

Headquartered in New Britain, Connecticut, Tilcon Connecticut Inc. is a supplier of crushed stone, hot mix asphalt, and ready mix concrete. From the Massachusetts border to the Connecticut shoreline, the company serves customers throughout its home state from 25 different locations. Each year, Tilcon supplies millions of tons of aggregate from five quarries and two sand and gravel pits. The company produces asphalt products at 22 asphalt plants, where computers control the mixing process and certified technicians test mixes for uniformity and quality. At nine ready-mix concrete plants throughout Connecticut, the company uses computer systems to maximize efficiency in the areas of batching control, dispatching, job tracking, and delivery. In addition, skilled professionals are responsible for testing and quality control. As one of Connecticut's largest paving companies, Tilcon paves and repairs many miles of new roads, bridges, and highways each year. The company has won numerous awards for its work in this area. In addition to using technologically advanced equipment, Tilcon employs experienced road crews, estimators, inspectors, lab technicians, paving superintendents, and quality control engineers. Through its Heavy & Highway Construction division, Tilcon has created paved surfaces and roadways at a variety of sites, ranging from office buildings and manufacturing plants to schools and shopping malls. Finally, Tilcon's Buchanan Marine division is engaged in barge transportation, annually moving some 6 million tons of crushed stone from quarries in northeast Connecticut to New York City and Long Island. This is accomplished via a fleet of 250 aggregate barges and 11 tugboats. In addition to its own shipyard, the company works from various docks throughout Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

Humble Beginnings: 1923-1956

Before Tilcon Connecticut began paving the way for travelers, an Italian immigrant named Angelo Tomasso, Sr., traveled to the United States in search of new opportunities. Born in 1892, Tomasso arrived in America in 1910. Working as a day laborer, he eventually joined a New York contractor who promoted him to the position of foreman. After serving his new country during World War I, Tomasso established a construction company called Angelo Tomasso Inc. in 1923.

Using a lone Bucyrus Erie steam shovel, Tomasso went to work building roads and working on sewer projects. He was among the very first contractors to work on New York's Taconic Parkway, working on construction in the Poughkeepsie area. Tomasso and his wife, Nazzarena, eventually produced four sons (Angelo Jr., Victor A., George A., and William J.). Angelo marked the birth of each son by purchasing a new steam shovel for his fledgling enterprise.

According to the August 5, 1952 issue of the New Britain Herald, Tomasso was active outside of the construction business. In addition to founding a number of ethnic organizations, he was considered a leader in the Democratic Party and became friends with Franklin D. Roosevelt while the latter was governor of New York.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Angelo Tomasso Inc. paved the majority of the roads throughout the city of New Britain. The company's first hot mix asphalt plant was erected in 1939. The following year, a quarry in Plainville, Connecticut, was acquired.

On November 19, 1949, Tomasso was hurt on the job while working at his quarry in Plainville, Connecticut. The accident caused a large stone to strike him in the head. Tomasso recovered from the ordeal and, with the help of his wife and sons, continued building his firm.

Angelo Tomasso, Sr., died in his home following a brief illness on August 4, 1952. In the August 5, 1952, issue of the New Britain Herald, New Britain Mayor John L. Sullivan remembered Tomasso as "an outstanding citizen" and credited him for improving the city's roadways. Following his father's death, Angelo Tomasso, Jr., became president and CEO of the company.

After graduating from New Britain High School in 1943, Angelo Tomasso, Jr., joined the Navy. He served as a petty officer in the Amphibious Corps during World War II and received a Purple Heart. Tomasso furthered his education after the war by enrolling in Naval Officers Training School at Alabama's Auburn University. Upon earning an undergraduate civil engineering degree, Tomasso returned to New Britain. Securing a position as general superintendent of Angelo Tomasso Inc., Angelo Jr. and his brothers gained a reputation for managing the construction of major highway projects, including Routes 2 and 9, and Interstate Highways 91 and 94.

Initial Growth & Expansion: 1957-1978

Starting in the late 1950s Angelo Tomasso, Jr., led his family's company through a period of growth and expansion. A string of acquisitions allowed the company to gain a number of asphalt plants, concrete plants, and quarries in Connecticut.

Tomasso of North Haven Inc. was established in 1957, following the acquisition of the North Haven Asphalt Co. The purchase of New Britain-based Sherman Sand and Stone Co. in 1961 led to the formation of Sherman-Tomasso Concrete Inc. Arborio-Tomasso Inc. was formed in 1964, after the acquisition of Arborio & Sons in Farmington. A new concrete plant in Middletown was erected the following year.

Angelo Tomasso Inc. reached a productivity milestone in 1968 while working on Interstate 84 in the towns of Farmington, New Britain, and Plainville. On a 9-mile stretch of highway, the company laid 1 mile of concrete per day. Another development took place that year when Angelo Jr.'s four sons formed Tomasso Brothers Inc., a construction and development company, followed by a property management firm called Tunxis Management. The company ended the 1960s by acquiring Bristol-based Helming Brothers in 1969.

Growth and expansion continued in the early 1970s. Angelo Tomasso Inc. began the decade by building its Portland Asphalt Plant in 1970. The following year the company set a world record with cooperation from some of its competitors when, as part of a massive repaving project at Connecticut's Bradley Airport, 18,300 tons of bituminous concrete was laid in only 18 hours time.

In January 1972, Ashland, Kentucky-based Ashland Resources Co.--a division of Ashland Oil Inc.--purchased Angelo Tomasso Inc. Following the acquisition, Angelo Tomasso, Jr., was named a vice-president at Ashland. However, management of Angelo Tomasso Inc. continued under the family, with Angelo Tomasso, Jr., as president; Victor F. Tomasso as first vice-president; William J. Tomasso as second vice-president and assistant secretary; Nazzarena Tomasso as secretary and treasurer; and George A. Tomasso as assistant treasurer.

At the time of the acquisition, which was rumored to be valued somewhere between $50 million and $83 million, Ashland already owned the New Haven Trap Rock Co., which was then Connecticut's largest supplier of crushed stone. According to Tilcon, "Trap Rock's North Branford quarry was considered the world's largest single-face trap rock quarry with a frontage of 1- miles."

Around this time, Angelo Tomasso Inc. employed approximately 700 workers during the height of construction season. These employees used some 400 pieces of equipment to carry out their work. A January 15, 1972, article in the New Britain Herald called the company's plant "a model of automation for a concern dealing in trap rock, concrete and other material," explaining: "A sophisticated arrangement of equipment and control devices allow quick and accurate truck loading with little related confusion, spillage and the like. It has been the subject of several feature stories in the road building and concrete field. A hallmark of the company has been excellent maintenance and care of its vehicles."

Under International Ownership from 1979 into the 21st Century

When the United Kingdom's Thomas Tilling Ltd. acquired Ashland Oil's northeast regional construction group in 1979, Angelo Tomasso Inc. fell under international ownership for the first time, becoming a division of Tilling subsidiary Tilcon Inc. Following the ownership change, Angelo Tomasso Inc. was renamed Tilcon Tomasso, and Angelo Tomasso, Jr., provided leadership to both concerns as president and CEO of Tilcon Inc.

Another ownership change came in 1984, when the company was acquired by British Tire and Rubber Co. One possible benefit of this acquisition may have been the ability to secure tires for Tilcon equipment at a reduced cost. This would have been of great help, as tires for some of its large quarry vehicles--standing as high as 10 feet--cost $8,000 apiece. The company's maintenance staff included workers who focused exclusively on the care of tires, performing regular inspections and maintaining detailed records. There was plenty of work to keep them busy; Tilcon changed as many as 5,000 tires each year.

During the mid-1980s, Tilcon moved crushed stone via a massive fleet of 400 to 500 trucks that received fuel from a 100,000-gallon diesel tank, as well as a 10,000-gallon gasoline tank. Oil was delivered to the company in shipments of 6,000 gallons. All of this fuel was drawn using a computerized access control system that monitored fuel usage. In addition to its vehicle fleet, Tilcon also owned its own railroad operation. The firm's fleet included 34 cars, each capable of moving 80 tons of stone.

To repair all of its equipment, Tilcon employed a staff of skilled mechanics. In addition to regular maintenance equipment, cranes were located in the garage for lifting heavy equipment, along with a massive lift for raising earth movers in need of repair. The company also relied on nine staff welders who worked two shifts. In addition to a welding shop, these employees also worked from portable welding vehicles when emergency repairs were needed out in the field.

In 1990 Tilcon Tomasso's name changed to Tilcon-Connecticut, and Angelo Tomasso, Jr., was appointed chairman of Tilcon Inc. That year, Tomasso received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Central Connecticut State University for his many contributions in the realm of community and public service. In the May 12, 1990, issue of the New Britain Herald, the university's president, John W. Shumaker, said: "Angelo Tomasso Jr. takes the same dedication and hard work that made him a success in business and applies those talents to improving the quality of life in the communities where he and his employees live and work. When his country, his state and his community have needed balanced, judicious and even gallant service, Angelo Tomasso has unfailingly responded with dedication, vision and generosity."

In a deal that The London Evening Standard valued at $279 million, CRH Group plc.--a construction conglomerate based in Dublin, Ireland, with 1995 profits of approximately $77 million--purchased Tilcon in 1996. Prior to the sale, CRH subsidiary Oldcastle Northeast Inc. was required to sell a quarry and two asphalt plants in order to avoid antitrust violations in the Hartford, Connecticut, area.

In 1998 Tilcon received the National Asphalt Pavement Association's National Ecological Award for environmentally friendly operations at its hot mix asphalt plant in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The facility, located on the Long Island Sound shoreline, was bordered by residential neighborhoods and a fragile wetland. Tilcon implemented a number of measures to keep operations clean and quiet, and to make the site as visually appealing as possible.

According to the December 31, 2000, issue of the New Britain Herald, Angelo Tomasso, Jr., retired as Tilcon Inc.'s chairman on January 1, 2001. Following his retirement, the company continued under the leadership of President and CEO Joseph Abate, and his nephew, Carmine Abate, became president and CEO of Tilcon-Connecticut.

During the mid-2000s, Tilcon continued to be recognized by the industry with a variety of awards. In 2004 these included a Quality in Construction Award from the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA); NAPA's Diamond Achievement Commendation for exemplary operations at Tilcon's New Britain asphalt plant; a Commitment to Environmental Excellence Award (honorable mention) from the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; and a Showplace Award from the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association for enhancing the appearance of the Tilcon Newington plant.

By 2005 Carmine Abate had been named president of Tilcon Connecticut, and the company remained a part of CRH. That year, the company was named as Habitat for Humanity's Corporate Partner of the Year in the Hartford, Connecticut, area. In addition, Tilcon continued to receive recognition for its work. Honors included an Excellence in Asphalt Pavement Construction Award for the company's work on Interstate 91 in the Connecticut towns of North Haven and Wallingford. The project was carried out under difficult conditions, including a quick turnaround and the requirement that work could only be performed at night due to high traffic levels. Finally, Tilcon's hot-mix asphalt plants in Waterbury, Newington, North Branford, New Britain, and Manchester received NAPA's Diamond Achievement Commendation for operational excellence.

As of 2006, Tilcon enjoyed a position of market leadership in the northeastern United States. Moving forward into the late 2000s, it appeared that the company Angelo Tomasso, Sr., started with only one steam shovel would continue to grow and prosper.

Principal Divisions

Concrete & Asphalt; Heavy & Highway Construction; Buchanan Marine Transportation.

Principal Competitors

O and G Industries Inc.; Lane Construction Corporation.


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