Case Studies

RC Company Inc.

Full Service Commercial Renovations with a Greener Mindset

Over the years, brothers Robert, James and Steve Cottone have found that combining their strengths and industry leading experience results in measurable success. As owners of the RC Company Inc. (RC Company), James and Steve have propelled the firm into one of the premier commercial contracting companies throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. By focusing on long lasting customer relationships, consistency and adding LEED-accredited projects, the full service commercial contractor has built a well-established renovations business in over the course of 26 years.

“The company was originally started by my twin brother, Robert Cottone, while he was still in high school in 1978,” recalls James Cottone, president of the RC Company. “Robert ran the business throughout college, focusing on local residential renovations. He was eventually recruited by a regional construction management firm and still works there as a CEO.”

Keeping it in the Family

When Robert left the business for the regional firm in 1985, James saw an opportunity to apply his experience by stepping in as the general manager of the RC Company. “I worked with Robert on and off while going to Villanova University and went into commercial real estate syndication for several years after graduating,” details James. “With advice and guidance from my brother and my real estate background we quickly moved the firm into a full service commercial general contractor that specializes in renovation.”

The RC Company was finally incorporated in 1987 and now serves a 150-mile radius of the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The general contractor operates as a small firm with just 10 employees at its home location in Paoli, Pa. “We are conservative and grow slowly,” says James. “In my opinion bigger is not necessarily better in construction. Knowing your limitations is key because many firms grow too fast and stumble.”

While remaining a relatively small organization, James admits the company has progressed significantly through specialization. “Early on, we self performed trades like carpentry and painting with as many as 40 employees,” he explains. “That was before we became proper general contractors with full-time, on-site superintendents. We’re unique because we’ve stayed in this renovations niche.”

Renovations & Relationships

James reveals that while most general contractors chase all kinds of work, the RC Company has found success in strictly performing renovations. “There is more of an art involved in renovating a building, especially when it’s occupied,” he says. “You need the skills and network of subcontractors that can go into the bowels of a fully operating office building, hospital, etc., and get in and out on deadline without disturbing the occupants.”

As the company has shifted to 100 percent subcontractor-driven work, James admits it’s very important to manage relationships. “Our philosophy is to develop long lasting relationships,” he shares. “We use a specific network of subcontractors we know and trust, this has helped ensure consistency and quality, especially during the economic downturn. We needed to know our subcontractors were able to keep jobs going and running smoothly during difficult times.”

The RC Company has recently completed an upgrade and refurbishment of the 18,000-square-foot second floor of Falvey Hall at Villanova University. “This renovation consisted of new finishes, added meeting rooms, offices and writing and math learning centers,” details James. “We also added new men’s and ladies restrooms with granite walls, countertops and hands-free appliances.”

The design incorporates a full framed glass partition throughout with decorative soffits and ceiling soundscapes. The RC Company team upgraded the current HVAC system, lighting and sprinkler system. “We were responsible for a specialty HVAC installation to secure a rare antique book collection for the Villanova University Library as well,” adds James. The company has also performed impressive renovations of office facilities, retail outlets and tenant facilities for some well-recognized corporations such as ING, Auto Trader, World’s Gym and iPipeline.

LEEDing in the Tri-State Area

In addition to specialty renovations, the RC Company is taking projects to the next level by developing LEED-certified builds. The company completed its first LEED project at the end of 2007 in East Whiteland Township, Pa., since James and Steven have both completed GREEN Advantage training. By 2008, all of the company’s project managers and senior superintendents were also certified. The RC company continues to partner with national and local green building organizations, including the U.S. Green Building Council and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. “We’re committed to training all of our employees in sustainable building practices,” notes James.

“We’ve recently completed our first LEED-platinum project at the INC Building,” shares James. Even if complete LEED certification isn’t attainable, the RC Company continues to recycle all debris generated from projects and utilizes reclaimed carpet, drywall, acoustical ceilings and studs, along with low VOC paint, caulking flooring and wall covering adhesives. The company offers other energy saving alternatives such as auto flushing toilets, hands-free faucets, motion sensing light switching, high performance insulation and HVAC equipment, reflective roofing materials and energy star rated appliances.

James admits what it all comes down to is consistency. “Contractors are always weakened by either too much work, or not enough,” he reveals. “The strength in our organization is the stability we offer. Our clients can depend on our consistency.” The RC Company Inc. continues to offer reliable, quality renovations with an innovative, sustainable focus.

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Spring 2018



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