The Associated Construction Co. builds success


Name: The Associated Construction Co.

Location: Hartford

Industry: Construction

Founded: 1942

Founder: Angelo J.M. Giardini

Generation Currently Running Company: 2nd

Full-Time Employees: 32

Family Members Currently Employed at Company: Thomas M. Giardini (father), president; Sarah M. Giardini (daughter), marketing associate

Company website:

Family-owned and currently run by the second generation, The Associated Construction Co. of Hartford has weathered many economic ups and downs in its 72 years in business.

Having just completed a massive, $87 million project with ESPN’s Digital Center 2, the company has proven it can deliver on its promises of meeting clients’ every expectation.

With customers such as Aetna, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Stanley Black & Decker, United Technologies Corp. and Yale University, Associated Construction has made a name for itself in the industry. Owned by Thomas M. Giardini and Joseph D. Jankowski, the company relies on its pride in its workmanship in all the industries it has a hold in: commercial, residential, institutional, industrial, environmental, retail, religious, and medical.

Jankowski, principal and vice president, said it’s a mid-sized company that doesn’t lose touch with its customers.

“We carry a structure and a formality that is required of executive businesses on a professional level, but we never lose the human element,” Jankowski said. “We take the time to listen to clients, understand our clients, and really get a feel for what a client’s needs are on a particular project. We’re not one-size-fits-all for our clients.”

That human element comes into play with employees as well.

“We create an atmosphere of trust and understanding,” Jankowski said. “People are more at ease with themselves. If there’s a stumbling block or a second opinion, or they’re not sure how to handle something, they’re overloaded and need some help – we keep a supportive atmosphere here. We’re not working on islands; people are working together.”

Jankowski said the company’s recent completion and success of the ESPN project can be attributed to the good people who work for Associated Construction.

“We have people with 30-plus years of experience, but it’s not something we rely upon when executing our projects,” he said. “We approach every project as fresh. It is truly different than the last project, which might have been similar.”

Jankowski said the company never overlooks the effects of a strong collaboration between architects, engineers, and contractors.

“The communication skills and the ability to work with people become just as important as the technical aspects of the project,” he said.

Employees are very involved in process improvements. The company’s safety unit is made up of employees from every department.

“They’re the inventors, they’re the creators, they have that buy-in,” Jankowski said. “With that buy-in, they’re much more likely to capitalize on the gains that we’re making.”

Ken Woodward, director of preconstruction services and estimating, said Giardini and Jankowski are forward-thinking and innovative, and the employees are among the best in the business.

“We’re a smaller overhead company with extremely capable people,” Woodward said. “What that, in turn, means to an owner is usually a more cost-effective, value-based solution. We’re not paying loads and loads of people to just generate paperwork; the focus is the specific needs and demands of the project. With very capable people, you can meet that demand productively.”

Woodward said the accessibility of both Giardini and Jankowski makes his job easier.

“It’s nice to have that kind of access, to bounce things off of, talk about new ideas and strategies and marketing opportunities,” he said. “That kind of gets you to the finish line a little faster.”

Junior accountant Julie Santiago, who has worked her way up from the front desk in her 11 years with Associated Construction, said the smaller, more family-friendly atmosphere provides for greater flexibility.

“If anything comes up where I have to leave for my two kids, they understand, and they accommodate it,” she said. “It feels like a family here. Everyone knows each other; you feel more comfortable.”

In addition to employee get-togethers and other team-building events, Santiago said there are plenty of opportunities for professional development.

“If we need anything — a workshop for what’s new with Excel or Quickbooks — to help us understand or to make us more efficient we can always sign up for seminars and classes,” Santiago said.

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