Dallas Contracting Co. Inc.
“Demolition is the first step in revitalization,” said Damon Kozul, vice president of business development at Dallas contracting. “The buildings and structures have to come down to make room for new structures.”
Dallas doesn’t just demolish buildings to make room for the new, the company also actively salvages and recycles whatever it can. Scrap metal gets recycled, concrete and aggregate get crushed, and wood and other usable materials are removed.
Kozul said it is an “environmentally conscientious decision on our part to try to salvage all of this.” He noted that the yellow pine and antique pine in particular would otherwise end up being ground up and landfilled, but people are very interested in re-using these old woods.
Sometimes there are unique items. “On of the more interesting items,” Kozul said, “was a wrought iron spiral staircase. It was stamped ‘1939.’” Another interesting find was a railroad puller. “Where they wrap a rope around to pull railroad cars,” Kozul explained. The puller was considered railroad artifact, and Dallas donated it to the New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center, where it went on display.
Kozul didn’t start out wanting to be in the demolition business – it snuck up on him. He went to school for engineering, but, “For me,’ he said, “sitting there and designing things – that wasn’t for me – I needed a little more action in my life.”
He went to work for a large consulting company “that took on several projects that had a demolition component,” Kozul explained, “and that’s what got me interested in the demolition industry. I got pulled in, and I love the business – I’d never leave it.”
Kozul said, “Demolition is a very exciting business, not only because of the obvious ability to wreck structures but also because of the exposure to many other associated businesses like scrap metal recycling, salvage and redevelopment.”
Dallas Contracting has been in business since 1978, founded by brothers John and Don Sisto. At first, it was just the two brothers and one other employee; now the company has 40-45 employees and has recently spawned a new company, Environmental Aggregates & Surplus Equipment, LLC. (EASE). Kozul said that they had talked about the spinoff for some time, but that officially EASE has existed for about a year. John and Don and Kozul own EASE; Kozul is the managing partner.
Explaining the decision to launch the new company, Kozul said, “We’ve seen quite a bit of opportunity – not just us, but the clients – salvageable beams, antique pine, yellow pine. We have seen a tremendous demand for onsite concrete crushing, used equipment and salvage of wood and architectural items. Now that we have all of these different pieces of the puzzle, we decided to break off a piece so Dallas construction can focus on what they do.”
In concrete crushing, Dallas used to do about 20-30 thousand tons a year. Last year, that number was over 100 thousand tons. “This year,” Kozul said, “we’re probably going to do 150 thousand tons.”
Like many other businesses, Dallas and EASE face the high cost of fuels, insurance, health care as well as a shrinking labor pool “We are also in a very regulated industry,” Kozul said, “and must constantly make sure we are in compliance with OSHA, ANSI, MSHA, EPA and DEP rules, regulations and laws.”
Time constraints are also a challenge. “We have a finite amount of time to finish a project.” Kozul said, so the salvage work has to proceed at a fast enough pace to satisfy the customer. “Every day is a new challenge,” Kozul said. “There is no ‘typical’ project; no two projects are the same.”
While many people would think of Dallas Contracting and EASE as demolition companies, Kozul said, “We’re really the recyclers – we take the time to try to salvage – otherwise it would go into landfills.”
Kozul summed it up: “We strive to keep recycling on our projects to the maximum extent possible, which is not only an economic benefit to us and our clients but also environmentally friendly. Items that would normally end up in a landfill are salvaged. Onsite crushing of concrete and masonry materials saves landfill space but also saves natural resources.”