Complete Commitment Works
SiteWorks General Engineering, Inc.: Etching a future in asphalt
In 2009, the country was just growing out of the Great Recession. At a time when many new business startups would have found it difficult to make a name for themselves, Roque “Rocky” Arteaga Jr. had the courage to establish SiteWorks General Engineering, Inc. (SiteWorks), a San Jose, California-based contracting firm specializing in asphalt and concrete paving, grading and excavation.
It all began when an opportunity opened up for him to land a big paving contract. According to Rocky, SiteWorks was chosen for the job for many reasons—including the fact that his company’s value engineering resulted in a bid that was significantly less than the competition. “God presented [this opportunity] and gave it to us,” says Rocky, who cites “good timing” as one of the keys to the businesses’s early success. Once, the company did work for a shopping center that couldn’t get a civil engineer out to its property for eight months, but the client needed the work done within three months. SiteWorks stepped up to the plate—and the good timing proved to be mutually beneficial.
A Full-Service Experience
Rocky explains that SiteWorks offers an assortment of services to its commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers. These offerings include asphalt paving and maintenance on parking lots, roadways and driveways, handling everything from new construction to repairs, resurfacing and reconstruction work. The company also provides site concrete and structure services (e.g., sidewalks, curbs, gutters) and other expertise consisting of grading and excavation; underground utility repairs, replacements and installations; structural demolition; stone and concrete crushing; and asphalt pulverizing.
The team tackles a variety of jobs, adapting to meet the needs of its varied client base. “We recognize that working closely with the contractors is an important part of the business,” Rocky explains. For example, SiteWorks is currently part of the team doing construction on a commercial building that is being retrofitted for a biotech company. The site was constructed in the 1980s. As is typical of many older buildings, the original plans no longer match what is actually going on with the current infrastructure, requiring project team members to devise on-the-fly solutions to address unforeseen conditions and make upgrades. SiteWorks is working to support the plans of the design team and the general contractor to incorporate new installations that are needed on the site. SiteWorks is tasked with updating the plans and then designing and building these installations, while also ensuring the work it performs is cost-effective and safe.
While Rocky’s company is capable of performing a range of services—demolition, total site preparation, underground construction, parking lot paving and more—some clients are not quite willing to hand over all the planning to SiteWorks. Some have their own ideas about how they want to see things done. That approach does not bother Rocky and his team members, as they only want to do the best job possible for their clients. So, while they can take a full-service approach, they can also do smaller and more specific jobs if that is what the client wants.
With over 30 years of professional experience, Rocky isn’t new to the world of construction. In fact, he’s been around construction his entire life. His grandfather operated bulldozers, and his father was a paving superintendent. That experience, along with a strong team of people who value quality and are willing to learn, is what Rocky believes sets SiteWorks apart from other competitors in his field.
Quality Over Quantity
SiteWorks is a small company with about eight employees total, but Rocky feels the team works well that way. One of the benefits of being a smaller business is that, as a CEO, he can split his time between the office and the field. He’s able to get out and work on the projects alongside his crew and build relationships with the clients. He feels that it is important for the clients to see who’s managing their projects and to know that he is there for them.
Having a small staff also allows Rocky to control the quality of the work better. “I refuse to sacrifice safety and quality by hiring people who aren’t experienced in the industry,” says Rocky when discussing the size of his team. When his firm first began growing, he had about 40 people. But he says that “just didn’t work out.” Now he is proud to have a lean and tight team that he works with closely. He says he’s completely committed to passing on his knowledge and experience to his staff. He also realizes that while he was raised in this business, he can learn from his employees just as they learn from him. Rocky says that leading and learning go hand in hand. “It’s about constant training and realizing you don’t know it all. If you’re going to lead, you better listen to your team,” he says.
“You’re only as good as your last man—the person who needs the most help shows how good your crew is,” Rocky explains. He believes that you should be teaching and helping your team as often as you can.
This is an approach he also uses when it comes to community involvement. He says, “SiteWorks has supported several youth football leagues in South San Jose, including the Oak Grove and San Jose Saints teams and Play Flag Football. We have also supported Santa Teresa High School’s football program. My wife and I have supported the youth by teaching life lessons and creating memories that will last for a lifetime.” Rocky himself has been a football coach in the South San Jose area since 2006.
Rocky takes great pride in being a coach in his community. Having grown up in a rough neighborhood, he recalls coaches being a big influence on his young life. In addition to his parents, his coaches were good to rely on for guidance; and now that he is a parent, he wants to make an impact in the same way. “I see my children growing up, and I want to make an impact on other kids’ lives. It can be tough growing up, and having a coach and someone else to listen to is helpful,” he says. Rocky answers calls at all hours from parents in the community who are seeking advice on how to connect with their kids on a deeper level. He adds that his wife, Rosa Buenrostro, is a great support and source of strength in all that he does—in both his business and in the community.
A Bright Future
Integrity and involvement are two of the guiding forces behind Rocky’s actions as a company leader and as a man engaged in his community. Rocky sees a bright and prosperous future for SiteWorks as his team continues to offer quality work to the company’s growing clientele. However, he makes it very clear that his business decisions are strategic—he does not take on more jobs than his team is capable of handling at a given time, as he never wants to sacrifice safety or quality. In the last year, he has said no to several jobs because of this principle.
As important as it is to ensure a job is done right, it’s also important to Rocky that he doesn’t stretch his employees too thin or pressure them with unreasonable work demands. The SiteWork team is a family, and they benefit from the work they do together. At the end of the day, his primary concern is keeping his crew safe while making sure the job gets done. Currently, the group has a “don’t break a tool for a month” raffle going. Whoever wins the raffle gets a $200 reward. At the time of reporting for this article, no entries had been made yet, but Rocky is confident they’ll get there. In the meantime, he doesn’t mind the general wear and tear on the tools as long as his crew remains safe and the jobs are successful.