Connecticut Contractor Maintains its Family Legacy
Third-generation Conte Company leads the way with its specialty contracting expertise
Given their work ethic, dedication and passion for the construction industry, it’s no wonder that a third generation of the Conte family continues their legacy running one of Norwalk’s longest-standing companies—slowly branching out from general contracting to more specialized services, particularly with engineered and geotechnical construction.
Founded in 1948 (then known as A.F. Conte, Co.) by Italian immigrant Anthony F. Conte, the business has grown and evolved over the years as each generation has stepped in, bringing new ideas and new expertise. James Conte, who has spent his life in the field, took over the business in 1967 after graduating from college with a degree in Architecture. Having now taken a seat as a senior arbitrator in Connecticut construction cases, his sons—Anthony, Michael and Matthew (and Mark, who works part-time at the company) now continue to grow the business, caring for their many loyal customers—many of whom have worked with the Contes for decades. Their headquarters are even still located in the building that Anthony F. originally built 60 years ago.
The Next Generation Stays Grounded
While the next generation now handles much of the day-to-day of the business, James continues to come in and work, caring for long-term clients and imparting his philosophy of hard work and customer service to his sons. As Matthew remarks, “We’ve never met someone who didn’t like our father, not because he’s a yes guy, but because he has always given people a good product, has worked honestly—and that’s what he taught us.”
The brothers, each with his own expertise, eschew job titles and labels—for themselves and for everyone on the team. As Matthew explains, it just wouldn’t fit into their philosophy of everyone pulling together to get the job done. A hands-on approach is a key element of the company’s success as the family knows that to truly understand what goes on at a jobsite, you have to have worked on a site. Matthew says, “It’s easy to be trained in scheduling, safety and in all aspects of project management, but if you haven’t spent time on a construction site, you really can’t know how it works.” This is the experience the Conte family provides.
A Leader in Specialty Projects
Conte Company specializes in all kinds of sitework, pilework and geotechnical construction. Their Connecticut-based GC and specialty contractor business, which serves Norwalk to Hartford and beyond, has grown into a leader when it comes to sensitive jobsites where safety and the utmost cleanliness are critical. Some examples of this work include chemical plants (there is one in particular where Conte has been the only contractor for 40 years), airports, natural gas facilities, railroads and even a U.S. Navy base. They have gone through extensive security clearances, abide by the most stringent safety regulations and ensure their equipment is always well maintained—keeping two full-time mechanics on staff.
Their attention to detail and quality is their main focus in order to provide a client with high-quality work, done to spec, a clean jobsite, a safe work environment, and with on-time completion. While they’re not always the lowest bid, they’re specialized in what they do. As Matthew declares, “Our customers may pay a little more now, but they’ll definitely pay a lot less later. That’s how it’s always been with us. We refuse to cut corners to make something favorable to us. Profit is important but I would rather break even and leave knowing the engineers who designed it are happy with our work and the owners got what they needed—rather than us making a few bucks. We want people to get exactly what they want.”
Embracing Family and Community
Beyond their attention to their loyal clients, Conte Company also takes great care in ensuring their company culture is family oriented and that all the guys are close with one another. The fact that they know how each other works not only provides a sense of camaraderie but also promotes efficiencies in getting things done. Some employees have been with the company a very long time, including one who worked for Anthony F. Additionally, Conte does a great deal of charity work within the community, notably with the local fire and police departments.
With the goal of expanding their pile driving services (they have helped create two patents in the pile driving industry over the past 10 years) and continuing to grow their capabilities in sitework and specialty niche projects, the future of Conte Company looks as strong as ever.