Case Studies

J.P. Carrara & Sons Inc.

Building bridges to a brighter future

Joseph P. Carrara founded J.P. Carrara & Sons Inc. (JPC) in the early 1940s. An Italian immigrant, Joseph settled in Vermont. He purchased an old concrete truck as an addition for his barn-building business and began growing a company that would span three generations to become one of the top manufacturers of concrete products in the entire Northeast.

Based out of three offices – two in Vermont and one in New York – JPC employs approximately 100 workers between its production facilities, quarry crews and fleet drivers. Joe Carrara, current president, as well as PJ Carrara, current vice president, take great pride in the company that Paul built.

Working mainly with the commercial public and all New England and New York departments of transportation, JPC manufactures and erects precast and pre-stressed concrete products, also producing aggregates and ready-mix concrete. Using a dedicated staff, and always pushing the bar to find new technology for ease of process, the company stays competitive in a market slowly resurging from the lull of the economic recession.

One of JPC’s main products is hollowcore plank: a slab of precast, pre-stressed concrete with hollowed cores. Used as structural floor or roof deck systems in single and multi-story buildings, hollowcore plank is an essential part of any large-scale construction project. JPC produces New England’s widest planks, up to 8 feet and 3 inches wide, and is currently looking into new technology and facilities for its production processes.

Compared to its competitors, JPC is already a step ahead with its process for handling its large concrete planks on a project site. While traditional methods involve using cable lifts that leave gaps between adjacent planks, the company employs vacuum lift technology to move planks to the final location more precisely and efficiently.

Building bridges

Precast pre-stressed concrete is also a key component in bridge construction. As a large sector of the business, JPC micromanages its fabrication process from production of the concrete itself to testing of the final cast product. With massive concrete beams needing to be transported from the manufacturing facilities to the project jobsites, the company has a fleet of tractor trailers that employ remote controlled steerable dollies to assist in maneuvering the larger products.

A highly publicized project that the company has been involved with is Vermont’s Accelerated Bridge Program. With the goal of improving the structures and completing repairs, the program partners with contractors to streamline construction. The bridge program’s accelerated production schedules mesh well with JPC’s self-sufficient manufacturing, delivery and assembly processes.

“The contractors had a weekend to demo the existing bridge, build a new one and have traffic running through Monday morning,” Joe comments.

Spanning across the state, JPC was involved with 13 bridge development projects over summer 2014 and has more planned for the next construction season. “We’re pre-casting the whole thing,” Joe explains, “The footings, the abutments, the wing walls, the beams; the whole thing’s precast.”

Another major component of JPC’s business is stadium and arena construction. In 2000, the company produced precast concrete for Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and has completed numerous other projects on college campuses, including Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine; Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire; and Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. The company manufactures bleachers and structural framing components that play an integral part in stadium production.

Keeping two steps ahead in a competitive market has helped the company stay in business for over 70 years. Outside of its concrete products and production, JPC also has a real estate division, managed by Joe’s brother in-law, Bill Townsend.

Moving forward, the company looks to continue expanding its reach across New England. With a reemerging market, JPC is coming out on the top of its competitive industry. As J.P. Carrara & Sons Inc. continues to maintain its stance in the market, its product and processes will keep building the bridges for a solid future.

Published on: May 4, 2015

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