Cutting It Close
Concrete cutting skills etch Intracut, Inc.’s reputation
In 1985, Gary Hale decided it was time for a change.
After 15 years as an ironworker, Gary wanted to own his own concrete cutting company, a true family business. He began with a single concrete saw, a determination to achieve his business dreams, and an understanding wife who didn’t mind when he practiced his new craft cutting lines in the concrete patio in the backyard of his family’s California home while he attended night classes and earned his contractor license. In 1987, Intracut, Inc. was incorporated, the name of the business a play on the word “intricate” in reference to the fine, detailed concrete cutting that would define the company’s reputation.
“Gary was a one-man show and started sawing, coring and wall-sawing in 1985,” says Gary’s wife, Stefany. Today she serves as Vice President of Intracut, while Gary leads as President. “Intracut was incorporated when we were running the business out of our home,” she adds.
It didn’t take long after Intracut, Inc. was formed for opportunity to find Gary’s new company. He won a contract with Dinwiddie Construction Company (now Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company), using his flat saw at the Century Square Shopping Center (now called Westfield Century City) in Los Angeles and performing all the work by himself at night while the shops were closed. That project led quickly to another contract, a six-month job for Cleveland Wrecking Company to save the facade of the old Samson Tire and Rubber Company headquarters building in Los Angeles.
“This was Gary’s favorite job because it entailed intricate coring and wall-sawing and had to be carefully supervised,” Stefany says. A look at the building explains why. Modeled after the 2,800-year-old Assyrian palace of King Sargon II, the former rubber plant boasted a 1,350-foot-long crenellated concrete wall (since expanded to 1,750 feet) decorated with heraldic eagle-headed geniuses and bas-relief carvings of Assyrian princes. Today, the building is occupied by Citadel Outlets.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
What began as a one-man band quickly grew. Before long, the company was too large to continue operating out of the Hale home and needed to find a new base of operations. Gary and Stefany purchased a half-acre of land in Reseda, California, and moved an office trailer onto the property as a workplace for Intracut’s staff and estimators, with room left over on the property to store the company’s fleet of trucks and equipment.
In 1998, the Intracut family business grew even larger when the Hales decided to open Metropolis Disposal, Inc. (Metropolis), providing roll-off services and dumpster rentals to job sites throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
“We started Metropolis because we wanted to service our own company,” Gary says. “When we were doing jobs, we needed roll-off bins, but we found that too often the people we called were unreliable or didn’t want to work at night. So, while we began the company as a way to service our own job sites, we’ve found a lot of demand from other contractors in the area who needed a roll-off company they could count on.”
The success of both Intracut and Metropolis meant the businesses needed even more room. The Hales purchased two 18,000-square-foot industrial lots in Van Nuys, California—one in 1997 and the second in 2000. One location is used by office staff and estimators, and the other is used to store the fleet of Metropolis roll-off trucks and dumpster bins.
“Today, we have more than 20 employees, ranging from saw cutters and roll-off truck and dump truck drivers, to Bobcat and equipment operators and office staff. We have 12 service trucks, a mini excavator, a track loader, a dump truck and four Metropolis Disposal roll-off trucks including over 95 bins,” Stefany says.
As quickly as the Hales’ first business grew in its youth, it hasn’t tapered off with time. In 2019, Intracut celebrated its best year ever, with a 25% gross revenue increase over 2018.
All in the Family
Intracut began as a family company, and it has remained so. Gary and Stefany’s two children, Jeff and Lisa, grew up in the business. Stefany’s sister, Mary Esquibel, has been working for Intracut since 1985 and currently serves as Payroll Supervisor. While Jeff was in high school, he helped keep company costs down by re-tipping core bits with diamond segments. During summer vacations he learned to saw cut, core drill and perform demolition before moving on to manage the estimating and demolition projects, eventually working to build Intracut’s brand and oversee the company’s IT needs. Lisa started with the company when she was just 16, washing the company trucks before the week started. As she grew older, she worked in dispatch, administration, public relations and estimating. Lisa’s two children, Derek Koral, 27, and Madison Koral, 24, are also a part of the business. Madison is still in college and helps out part time at Intracut, while Derek is a full-time Estimator and Project Manager working his way toward a future leadership role.
Intracut is more than the extended Hale family, but that sense of a family business has created a culture that combines familiarity with a push for excellence.
“Our company culture is a casual one with a relaxed dress code,” Stefany says. “We encourage our employees, the backbone of our company, to always seek new ways to stay a step ahead of the construction industry and share everything they learn with each other and with management. We’re a family culture, but our demands for safety, excellence and serving the customer are very high.”
To meet those requirements, all field employees must complete an annual scheduled safety training to be compliant with company safety regulations. Foremen and field personnel are trained in a variety of areas, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) courses such as: CPR/First Aid, Job Hazard Assessment, Fall Protection, Respiratory Protection, Tool Safety, Confined Space Entry and many more. In addition, each of Intracut’s foremen has completed the state of California’s 30-hour Cal/OSHA training course and several have also completed OSHA’s 40-hour HAZWOPER course.
Decades of Strong Performance
Through more than three decades in business, Intracut has handled projects all across Southern California and has developed longstanding relationships with multiple general contractors who know they can count on Intracut to deliver results.
A few of Intracut’s recent and current projects include:
- A commercial property at 11601 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. TIS Construction Services, Inc., hired Intracut for a $600,000 job renewing and renovating the walking and driving spaces around the office building’s exterior.
- Manhattan Village shopping center in Manhattan Beach. W.E. O’Neil Construction Company awarded a $450,000 contract for concrete cutting, coring and demolition to Intracut.
- Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center in Glendale. Seismic upgrades are a constant concern in Southern California, and Layton Construction Company, LLC turned to Intracut for the necessary renovations in a $326,000 project that is ongoing.
- A biotech company in Thousand Oaks. CRB recently hired Intracut to perform interior renovations at a biotech company site. This is a $125,000 contract.
Every project has its own particular demands, some more challenging than others. For Lisa, the most difficult job she can remember is one where the company had to truly live up to the inspiration of its name with intricate cutting. Intracut was hired by C.W. Driver Companies to work on the Ventana Medical Center, located in the Tarzana area of Los Angeles. This medical building had an existing parking structure that had to be altered on every level to allow for larger vehicles.
“Together with the project superintendent, we decided the easiest way to create the access was to cut a half-inch off the bottom of each 14-inch-thick concrete beam, all of which had post-tension cables and heavy steel running through them,” says Lisa, describing the overhead parking garage beams that required modification. “First, the beams were X-rayed and marked, then we had our fabricator create a special track for our wall-saw machine to hang upside down and cut the beams with precision. I like to call this kind of job ‘surgical demolition.’ “
Despite the demands of the job, it was finished on time and on budget, to the customer’s satisfaction.
Intracut has come a long way from those first days operating out of the family home, but the Hales aren’t surprised by the path their company has taken.
Lisa, for one, recalls a moment in her youth that demonstrates Greg’s commitment to making the business a lasting success. “One day I came home and saw my dad cutting lines at the side of the house,” Lisa says. “I asked him why he was doing it and he said he wanted to see how close to the wall he could cut as practice for a project he was starting the next day. That’s when I knew there was nothing that was going to stop him from achieving his goals.”