Pete Vicari General Contractor LLC
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Kyle Gahm
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
When Peter J. Vicari returned to the United States after serving in the U.S Navy, he decided to realize his dream and founded Pete Vicari General Contractor LLC (PVGC). Since 1946 PVGC has been serving municipalities in the state of Louisiana as a general contracting firm.
After completing his education, son Peter G. Vicari joined his father in the construction business. Beginning his career as a laborer, Vicari was able to work his way up to superintendent and then project manager. In 1980, after learning all phases of the construction business, Vicari took over as president of PVGC.
“We’re a small family business but we’re able to compete with the bigger companies,” says Vicari. “We have an experienced team with a passion for their job.” With 20 full-time employees in management, PVGC will have up to 100 employees working in the field depending on the size of the job. The company employs a staff that includes architects, engineers and on-site personnel. “We have a lot of employees that have been here a long time,” he says. “We have a very low turnover rate.”
Building the Southeast
For more than 60 years, PVGC has provided contracting services to Louisiana and Mississippi. Ever since Hurricane Katrina, the company has performed much of its work in New Orleans. “We used to travel a lot before Katrina,” says Vicari. “Ever since 2005, there has been so much work in New Orleans that we haven’t had to travel.”
In 2011 PVGC completed Terrytown Elementary School in Gretna, Louisiana, which had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Terrytown Elementary is a part of the Jefferson Parish Public School System, which is the largest in the state of New Orleans. The school hosts roughly 10,000 students. “It was a $20 million job with all pour-in-place concrete, Vicari explains. “It was finished on time and on budget.”
PVGC also performs hospital work. The company is currently involved in replacing the air conditioning system in the surgical department at West Jefferson Hospital. The major challenge presented to PVGC was to conduct the work without disrupting the day-to-day surgery schedule. “We also had to cut holes in the concrete roof to install duct work,” says Vicari. “It was all about working around the operating room schedule. There were a few instances where we would plan cutting a hole in a wall but then there was an emergency surgery so everything had to be put on hold.”
In 2005 PVGC was featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The company was given a week to complete a major home renovation. “We had to take the roof off the house and actually build a second floor,” says Vicari. “There was a torrential downpour for two days so we had 300 people working to complete the job for the rest of the week.” The job was a success and the episode aired on ABC.
When the company is subcontracting work, PVGC has a reliable network of subs that they work with on a regular basis. “We have subs that have worked with us for more than 20 years,” says Vicari. “We do establish new relationships when someone new will come in and be the low bidder and he really wants the job. We’ve also helped subs get back on their feet when they have worked for a contractor who went bankrupt and couldn’t pay them.”
The relationships established by PVGC have contributed to the continued success of the company, especially during hard times. During the recession, PVGC was busy enough that the company was forced to turn down work. “In the 35 years that I have been the president of the company, there has been one week where we didn’t have any work,” says Vicari. “We have great relationships with architects who actually call us to let us know that they have a job coming up that they want us to bid on.”
Vicari prides his company on its availability to clients. “I’m always going to job sites and checking on things,” Vicari explains. “My cellphone is always on so clients can always reach me. I have a very open-door policy with my employees as well. They know that they can always talk to me about anything that’s going on.”
Vicari says that there is still plenty of rebuilding to be done in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. “There are a lot of schools and municipalities that still need to either be renovated or rebuilt,” Vicari explains. The family name is carrying on for PVGC as Vicari now has his two sons, Peter and Michael, working with him “The future is bright here,” he says proudly.
As New Orleans continues to rebuild, Pete Vicari General Contractor LLC continues a legacy of quality workmanship.
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