Cynthia Santa’s bold leadership inspires team at CRS Restorations, LLC
There are those in life who view a job as simply a means to an end. Then there are others who find their calling, and that chosen profession becomes integral to their lives and their identity.
“Doing what I love leaves a permanent smile on my face,” says Cynthia Santa, whose pursuit of personal fulfillment in her career led her to launch CRS Restorations, LLC, a certified minority- and woman-owned firm specializing in exterior facade cladding systems. “For me, it’s always exciting to see the shell of a building and imagine what we can create with different cladding options,” she continues. “Plus, I love the variety of unique challenges that construction has to offer. It’s extremely rewarding to work alongside my team and find creative solutions for our customers.”
CRS Restorations installs, repairs and restores products such as stucco, stone veneer and exterior insulation finishing systems, also known as EIFS. The company is certified to work with industry-leading brands including Dryvit, Sto, Parex, Master Wall and Synergy Wood.
Additionally, CRS Restorations provides architectural foam shapes likes moldings, trims, brackets, medallions and signs, which skilled team members create using sophisticated computer-aided design and 3D engineering software programs. Other valuable service offerings include exterior painting and waterproofing.
“Everything moves forward, and everything revolutionizes,” Cynthia comments. “To keep up with market demand, we are planning to offer other types of services in the future, including Nichiha (a fiber cement siding product), drywall and metal panel installation.”
Cynthia also has another business, LPC Scaffold Services, Inc., which rents and sells robust, German-engineered scaffold systems. The sister companies are based in Ocala, Florida, and often work in tandem to deliver streamlined, budget-friendly project solutions for residential and commercial properties across the state—and even beyond as needed.
A Leader’s Priorities
For Cynthia, her journey to become an exterior cladding and scaffolding expert started with a strong personal desire to achieve a healthier work-life balance to benefit her daughter, Catalina Rose Santa, whose initials form the acronym “CRS” in CRS Restorations.
Several years ago, Cynthia left a long-term job in the medical services field to take a more flexible sales position at a local exterior facade construction firm. It was a risky move, given that she had zero construction experience at the time. But her sales role gave her the autonomy to work from home as needed and more time to focus on caring for her daughter. So, she quickly learned everything she could about the business and its products, and found effective techniques to reach and support clients. “To successfully sell a project, I learned that you have to give your all to make sure the customer is very satisfied,” Cynthia says.
In just two months’ time, she logged a couple of million dollars in sales, which made quite an impression on the company’s leadership. Within six months of joining the firm, Cynthia’s charisma, industrious nature, upbeat energy and innate leadership qualities led to her promotion to vice president.
Next, with the support of a business partner, she opened LPC Scaffold Services. and fulfilled her lifelong aspiration to become an entrepreneur. The specialty contracting firm has experienced phenomenal growth because of its positive rapport with clients, according to Cynthia. She notes that gross revenues tripled between 2019 and 2020, and projections for 2021 are anticipated to exceed last year’s earnings. Her most recent business venture, CRS Restorations, has also enjoyed a steady backlog of work and is amassing an impressive client list.
Not many people have the tenacity to pursue an exciting, profitable career while also prioritizing the needs of their family. But Cynthia somehow made it work, in part because she has a natural predisposition for balancing numerous responsibilities and a zeal for overcoming obstacles. She also credits her mother—who obtained her master’s degree while simultaneously working and raising three young children by herself after her spouse died—as a source of inspiration.
“We never lacked for anything and she worked super hard her entire life, but also was at home. That balance between the two was just unbelievable. She’s been my inspiration and my hero my whole life,” Cynthia says.
Cynthia’s daughter, now 6, has told people that she wants to be “a builder like mommy.” Like any proud mother, Cynthia is delighted to hear of such ambitions. She comments that being a successful business owner gives her the opportunity to build a solid foundation for her daughter’s future—and that’s powerful motivation for any parent.
A Portfolio of Stunning Work
Both of Cynthia’s companies have performed jobs of all scope and scale. Signature projects in Florida have taken place at Orlando International Airport, Memorial Hospital in Miramar and the University of Miami, as a few examples.
Two other noteworthy projects are slated to be completed later this year. The first is a nearly 100,000-square-foot facility in Miami for CenturyLink, one of the largest telecommunications providers in the United States. On this job, CRS Restorations and LPC Scaffold Services, as subcontractors to Tetrad Building Group, LLC, partnered together to provide scaffolding, EIFS, stucco and exterior painting services. Once it opens, the state-of-the-art hub will serve as a technological and cultural “gateway” to meet the skyrocketing demand for enterprise services such as cloud, SD-WAN, WAN optimization and Ethernet in both South Florida and Latin America.
The other project is the 65,000-square-foot Regal Cinemas location at Dania Pointe, a premier 102-acre mixed-use development in South Florida featuring offices, residences, hotel rooms and a variety of dining and shopping options. Blalock Building Company is spearheading construction of the new movie theater, which will showcase a combination of EIFS and stone cladding systems installed by CRS Restorations. LPC Scaffold Services provided scaffolding for the project.
Cynthia notes, “One of the biggest benefits of working with us is that we provide turnkey construction services for everything related to exterior facades. When you can count on one unified team to represent a bigger scope of the project, it’s a big relief for customers.”
A Woman’s Valuable Perspective
Women currently comprise about 11 percent of today’s construction workforce, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. In this male-dominated industry, the fact that Cynthia is experiencing such incredible success as a business owner is remarkable, but not surprising, given her unshakeable inner strength.
She says, “As a woman in the construction industry, I think one of the biggest challenges is being underestimated. But since I love a good challenge, it’s one of those things that doesn’t really get me down. It just makes me stronger and work twice as hard.”
Anecdotal evidence and industry surveys suggest that women are not only vital to filling the persistent labor gap, but also offer fresh perspectives that can boost a team’s efficiency and problem-solving capabilities, thereby making companies more productive and competitive. As well, the inherent nurturing mentality of many women can promote a more inclusive workplace culture and improve employee retention by boosting camaraderie and job satisfaction.
Office Manager Josie Ramos feels that Cynthia’s leadership supports a culture of excellence that keeps employees highly motivated and loyal. “She is a great leader for our organization. She has a big heart, she’s a great listener and she cares about what we think. I have never seen anyone work as hard as she does and I have a lot of respect for her, especially with her being a woman and a minority and working in a man’s industry,” Josie says.
Not one to extol her personal talents, Cynthia credits the growth of both businesses to the dedication of her tightknit team. “We run our businesses like a family and are there 100 percent for each other,” she says. “I feel that any of us would step up without hesitation to help and support others, be it colleague or a client.”
Josie agrees wholeheartedly. “The staff here is committed to getting jobs done right, and getting them done quickly,” she adds. “A lot of times, I hear customers make statements that they only want us on their future jobs because of the outstanding level of service that we provide.”
Cynthia’s ultimate goal is to broaden her companies’ presence in the Florida construction marketplace, and perhaps even evolve to become a national operation. “We firmly believe that what makes us stand out in the industry is always having the willingness and aptitude to generate solutions to our clients’ problems,” Cynthia says. “If our clients are happy, then we have already made a profit.”