Rock-Solid in South Florida
Why contractors count on Rock Power Paving, Inc. for sitework and paving
Within minutes of speaking to Robert Delgado Jr., owner and operator of Rock Power Paving, Inc., the bold, seemingly cliché claims displayed proudly on his company’s website are validated and brought to life. The company boasts standards like: “South Florida’s Rock-Solid Choice,” “R.O.C.K.—we’re Reliable, On time, Committed and Knowledgeable” and “Concrete Solutions.” Rock Power Paving proves to be a direct product of the Delgado family’s long history of hard work and pursuit of, quite literally, concrete solutions to a variety of problems.
A true American Dream tale, the story of Rock Power Paving begins in 1972 when Robert Jr.’s parents, Robert Sr. and Carmen Delgado, immigrated to the United States to escape Fidel Castro’s communist regime in Cuba and to pursue a better life for their daughter, Maria, and soon-to-be-born son, Robert Jr.
From humble beginnings, Robert Sr. had operated heavy construction equipment and worked in the site development industry in Cuba since the age of 15. Upon his arrival in Miami, Florida, Robert Sr. provided for his family for 14 years as a self-employed bulldozer operator. In 1986, he established Rock Power Corporation—a company that would one day employ 70 and be known as Rock Power Paving.
The Origin of Rock Power Paving
For five years after establishing Rock Power Corporation, Robert Sr. grew his business alongside his 10 employees by operating equipment and completing earthwork—moving, paving, fine grading, filling concrete pads, etc.—on behalf of general contractors.
However, things changed in 1991 when Robert Jr. graduated from high school and came to work for the business part time as an estimator. Though Robert Sr. wanted his son to be an engineer, after Robert Jr. began working for the family business, it quickly became clear that his future lay instead in professional site development. “Since getting involved with the business after high school, it has been nonstop ever since. I had a knack for the trade and it came naturally to me,” Robert Jr. reflects.
Robert Jr. transitioned from an estimator to running smaller jobs on his own, slowly taking on more responsibility and becoming more involved. Therefore, when Robert Sr. retired in 2004, his son proved his obvious successor.
With the change of ownership came a new company name—Rock Power Corporation officially became Rock Power Paving, Inc. Since taking over the family business, Robert Jr. has worked each day to preserve his father’s legacy by providing the same top-quality services, and much more.
The School of Hard Knocks
When asked how he became an expert in his trade, Robert Jr. says he “learned from ‘the school of hard knocks.’”
“It wasn’t easy,” he laughs. “There were a lot of hit-your-head-against-the-wall moments and I lost some money here and there, but I was always learning.”
Though Robert Jr. didn’t officially start working for the company until just after his high school graduation, he was exposed to the industry as early as the age of 7. “As a kid, when I wasn’t in school or playing baseball, I was usually at work with my father, watching and learning from him as he operated equipment.”
Robert Jr. explains he feels lucky to have learned from a true expert in the field like his father and believes the training he received from him was invaluable. “He’s a hell of an equipment operator—and I say that not just because he is my father. I’ve seen a lot of operators in action, yet none compare,” Robert Jr. says. “He can arrive at a job site and tell you instantly how many trucks it will take to complete the job.”
With a strong foundation of expertise in equipment operation and earthwork, it wasn’t long after he became more involved in the business that Robert Jr. identified unseized opportunities for growth. While Robert Sr. was a master in his element, behind the wheel of a bulldozer or motor grader, Robert Jr. realized that his father typically received only half of every off-site service contract. “Most contractors were in search of subcontractors offering complete-scope packages, so I knew we had to expand our services to include water and sewer work in addition to site work and land development,” he says.
With a tenacious spirit and a hands-on approach, Robert Jr. took it upon himself to learn these services. “When I wasn’t running equipment on a job site, I would approach other subcontractors working alongside us and ask, ‘Can I come help you?’ ”
After learning the basics, Robert Jr. took on small water and sewer jobs to acquire experience before eventually gaining the proficiency to offer the services as part of Rock Power Paving’s comprehensive, turnkey development package—from groundbreaking to the finished product.
Especially since the addition of its parking lot maintenance division in 2014, Rock Power Paving has become a one-stop shop for site work and paving needs. In addition to convenience, its complete site development capabilities allow the company to offer highly competitive prices and to control a project’s efficiency. “Because we are completely self-sufficient, we have control of when we begin and finish work, so our customers know they can count on us to meet the scheduled completion date,” Robert Jr. says.
It is precisely this comprehensive yet flexible business model that allows Rock Power Paving to deliver quality results on various project types of differing sizes and scopes. For instance, in 2014, UPS called on the firm to complete a $1.7 million drainage and parking lot project at its Hialeah, Florida, facility—just three months before its inevitable holiday rush. Though under immense pressure, Rock Power Paving delivered a quality work product and completed the project within UPS’ narrow timeline.
The superiority of the company’s work is evident not only in the fact that much of its business is derived from repeat clients and referrals. In 2010, Rock Power Paving was honored with an Excellence in Construction Award by the Associated Builders and Contractors for its site work during the historic renovation of the Coral Gables Museum in Coral Gables, Florida.
Though Robert Jr. admits he’s had to become “a master of many trades,” he is motivated by the challenge and remains dedicated to upholding high standards in project delivery, quality and performance.
It Runs in the Family
Rock Power Paving has been a family business since its establishment more than three decades ago. In addition to Robert Jr. and Robert Sr.’s involvement in the company, Robert Sr.’s wife, Carmen Delgado, and daughter, Maria Mirabent, have also played key roles.
Carmen helped Robert Sr. open the business in 1986. Maria, after graduating from Florida International University with a degree in finance, helped Robert Jr. take over the business and has been with Rock Power Paving ever since. Today, she serves as the company’s controller, handling all matters pertaining to finance and insurance.
“I think being a family business in this industry is an advantage. We are passionate about the company because it is ours and therefore we care that much more about our work product,” Maria says.
What’s more, the company’s family-oriented culture aids in the attraction and retention of talent in an industry where employee turnover is common. Roughly 30 employees have worked at the firm for over 10 years and eight of these employees have been with the company since its founding. “I think that says a lot about our company,” Robert Jr. affirms.
The Future Is … Solid
For Robert Jr., site development still excites him even after over three decades of work in this field. “We arrive on rural land and we basically transform it,” he says. “Seeing a finished job after eight to 10 months of activity is incredible.”
Since 2004, Rock Power Paving has grown under Robert Jr.’s leadership from 20 employees to 70 and, to accommodate for this growth, the company just began the first phase of a three-year-long project to add a parking lot and official office facility adjacent to its current equipment yard in Miami. Additionally, the scale and complexity of the jobs in Rock Power Paving’s project portfolio have increased, too.
Having completed site-work projects like the low-income housing Willow Lake apartments in Miami Gardens, the Miramar Readiness Center in Miramar and the New World Symphony project in Miami Beach, it’s no wonder Robert Jr. desires “more of the same” going forward. “We’d like controlled, steady growth,” he says. His company also has completed several projects for both the University of Miami and Baptist Health South Florida.
It is safe to say the company’s aspirations are on a rock-solid tarck to being realized as a leader in the South Florida construction community.