Rock and Roll
Metro Green LLC crushes it in construction recycling
The phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” usually summons up notions of plastic bottles and aluminum cans. To Angelo Maiorano and Vito Secchiano, first cousins and Co-Owners of Metro Green LLC, it means something a little different. Rather than recycling plastic, glass and paper, Metro Green recycles construction waste like dirt, rock and concrete, crushing and cleaning it and sending it back out as processed gravel, soil or sand for new construction projects. “We have created a one-stop shop where contractors can dispose of their construction waste generated from their sites while picking up their recycled products to be used back on those same sites, all at the same location,” Angelo says.
One Man’s Trash…
Based in Mount Vernon, New York, Metro Green is ideally situated to accommodate the loads of construction debris generated at project sites in Lower Westchester County—primarily Mount Vernon and Yonkers—as well as northern Bronx, Manhattan and parts of Connecticut.
“We’re one of only a few facilities in the area,” Vito says. “We thought this was a good spot. There’s nothing else on this side of Interstate 87. There are some other facilities, but there was a void in this specific area. There are lots of contractors in the Mount Vernon and Yonkers area, and we target the northern Bronx as well. There was plenty to get started and get our names out there.”
Angelo and Vito aren’t new to the construction business. Both of their fathers are local contractors, and both men grew up working for their fathers’ businesses after school and during the summer. Angelo’s father is a paving contractor who owns Community Paving Corporation. Vito’s father is a building contractor who owns MVM Construction LLC.
“I went to Manhattan College to be a civil engineer,” Angelo says. “Vito went to Pace University to be a finance manager. After I graduated, I went to work for an excavation and foundation company in Manhattan as a project engineer. After Vito got out of college, we decided we would take this on as a business.” From the first day Metro Green opened its doors in 2009, the cousins hustled to build their business. Networking and word-of-mouth are the engines that run the construction industry, and Angelo and Vito used every method they could to get their name out there.
“We’re very aggressive and were especially so in the beginning,” Angelo says. “Our fathers have been around for 30 to 40 years. They helped us network through their contacts in the beginning 10 years ago when we started. We also use engines like The Blue Book Network to see who is bidding jobs and winning jobs, and then we reach out to them. When we see activity at a construction site, we stop and make contact and offer our services. That’s how we do it, little by little. There’s a lot of word-of-mouth. These contractors all know each other and spread the word.”
As word spread, the business grew. Metro Green accepts only dirt, rock and concrete, with a maximum daily influx of about 500 cubic yards. All material brought in for recycling has to be uncontaminated; Metro Green doesn’t do remediation.
When material is brought in, the dirt is screened and separated from the rock and concrete. The rock and concrete are then fed into a rock crusher, which processes the material into a variety of finished products based on size and use. The company has recently purchased some new equipment to expand the number of materials they can create on-site.
“Most of the volume of business is incoming,” Angelo says. “Contractors come in to dispose of dirt, rock and concrete, and they can pick up gravel and soil products. We also offer delivery service. Most of what comes in is from residential or commercial projects in the area, such as home excavation or broken concrete sidewalks, and also from utility work in the streets and general site work. The contractors need to dispose of the material coming off the site. We recycle it through a process of screening and crushing into a variety of products that are sold back to the contractors. They can use it on the same sites that it came from for drainage, as a base for asphalt paving, concrete or whatever else they need.”
Metro Green has a large number of regular clients, but some of the primary customers include utility contractor Riggs Distler, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. and Capital Demolition, LLC. Naturally, Angelo and Vito’s fathers’ companies are also reliable customers. In addition, Metro Green is a Con Edison-approved Environmental Handling and Storage Transfer Station Disposal Facility and a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-registered Solid Waste Management Facility. It is also licensed by the Westchester County Solid Waste Commission as a recycling facility.
“In the last 10 years, a lot of regulations have changed on operations like ours,” Angelo says. “My engineering knowledge, Vito’s financial experience and our construction background have allowed us to adapt to the changes in red tape. That’s been a key to our success, along with our work ethic. Both of us were raised by hard-working families; our fathers were immigrants who came here with nothing. They instilled that work ethic in us at an early age; and that to achieve, you have to be aggressive.”
Metro Green’s location and the cousins’ aggressive networking have allowed the business to grow year over year, Vito says.
“A couple of other facilities have closed, and that’s enabled us to grab their business,” Angelo says. “We’ve also purchased additional equipment that allows us to make a larger variety of materials. We didn’t used to be able to provide material for utility backfill or gravel used as a base for poured concrete slabs; now we can. We’ve fortunately been able to steadily increase our business year over year, and one of the main reasons is equipment upgrades.”
Making a Mark
Another key to the company’s growth has been the use of The Blue Book Network as a research and marketing platform. It allows businesses to find Metro Green and also gives Angelo and Vito a clear view of who is in the area that might need Metro Green’s services.
“The Blue Book helps us in two ways,” Angelo says. “It’s good for exposure. When contractors win bids and don’t know the area, they can find us. It’s also a great search engine for us to find out who’s winning the work, who’s winning the bids and whether it’s something we can service. We can target the people who are bidding and winning and market ourselves. With our business, the main thing is getting clients in the door. Once they come in, they stay. It’s consistent. The gravel’s the same; the location’s the same. Once they know you’re here and they are aware of our proximity to their project, well, time is money; people will keep doing business with you because now they know your location.”
The company, which started with just Angelo, Vito and one laborer, has grown to a workforce of seven people, but Angelo says they are determined not to lose the small-business atmosphere and personal touch that he believes sets them apart. “We have an office manager now (Anthony Lore) who has proven to be a great addition and has taken a lot of day-to-day off our plate; [this] has allowed us to concentrate on how to grow and to focus on what owners of the company should really be focused on, which is serving our customers.”
Angelo continues, “My partner and I have always worked on creating an atmosphere that’s one-on-one. We like to be involved in every aspect. We don’t want to lose that atmosphere. People can come here and talk directly to us as owners. If there’s a problem, things get resolved faster that way. Usually you come to a recycling yard, you show up, you dump, you leave. We get involved with our customers. We feel that personal touch goes a long way.”