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A Closer Look E-mail the author

Yannuzzi Wrecking & Recycling
Joe Giannetti • 908-218-0880

Yannuzzi Wrecking & Recycling is a third-generation company, originally founded in 1927 as a trucking company and incorporated in 1957, according to the company’s general manager Joe Giannetti. The company was founded by James Yannuzzi, Sr. and is now run by his grandson, John Yannuzzi.

Giannetti joined the company about seven years ago, after a career in finance. He said that he “saw a lot of potential” with Yannuzzi, where he could work on business development.

He described the company, with 80 employees, as a “well-knit group” and said that everyone was treated like family. He also said that John Yannuzzi is “one of the greatest people I have ever worked for.” Giannetti runs the day-to-day operations and reports directly to John Yannuzzi.

The company has grown beyond wrecking and recycling, and is now one of the largest general contractors in New Jersey. They offer a turn-key service including asbestos removal, demolition, soil remediation and site improvements.

There are two locations, an equipment yard in north New Jersey and a Class B recycling yard in Hillsboro that handles brick, concrete, asphalt, brush and tree limbs.

Giannetti said that the company has always had a good name in the industry, but in 2008 a decision was made to “redirect the company so as to not be pigeonholed as a demolition company.”

That decision helped the company not only weather the tough years, but grow through the worst years of the economy. Giannetti said that from 2008 through 2012 was “a developer’s dream” because properties were cheap, and at the same time Yannuzzi “geared up to work with nasty construction sites.”

While Yannuzzi grew, the company saw many of its competitors fail. Giannetti said that proper planning kept their overhead level low, and that allowed them to keep all the employees working.

“Employees saw what was going on,” he said, and they appreciated that they still had jobs. Giannetti said that keeping those employees working and supporting their families was one of the company’s primary concerns, and the fact that there were no layoffs was one of his “happiest accomplishments.”

Now that the lean times are over, Giannetti said the company’s two-year projections show continued growth and he hopes that the company will double in size within the next five years.

The biggest challenge, he said, was that some of the company’s competitors bid some jobs at rates that lose money. “We pick and choose what we’re bidding,” he said, “and we offer services that the others companies can’t,” referring to the turn-key concept that makes Yannuzzi a one-stop-shop through the early stages of a development project.

Most of the time, Yannuzzi is working with 20 to 25 different clients at a time, and Giannetti said that working with them is one of his favorites parts of his job. “They can reach me at any time,” he said.

When a project is done, the company always sends a letter asking how the client felt about the level of service and how to improve the service in the future. “We get a lot of great feedback,” Giannetti said.

The letters aren’t just surveys – which Giannetti said would be too easy for people to check off answers without thinking – but they ask for real feedback. Sometimes, when Yannuzzi works with a client and changes have been made based on that client’s prior feedback, the client is surprised. “They’ll say, ‘you really read our responses.’”

“We correct every day and we learn every day,” Giannetti said. Based on customer feedback, the company is considering a name change. The current name makes it sound like the company is “just” a wrecking company. A new name has not been decided upon, but Giannetti said that changing the name is “one of the hardest decisions, but the best feedback.”

He said that many of the company’s clients – and potential clients – are not “up to speed on how much we have changed our business plan” and the name change is one way to get the word out.

But that’s not the end of the improvements at the company. “The owner of the company has a fantastic vision,” Giannetti said. “He will not miss his goal.”