Case Studies

RG Gosselin Inc.

Site work and concrete contractors serving Vermont

In 1976, Roger Gosselin founded RG Gosselin Inc. (RGG) as a small homebuilder serving northern Vermont. Over the years, the company has evolved. “We don’t perform as much homebuilding anymore,” explains John Gobeil, vice president of RGG. “Our focus has shifted to site work and concrete work.” The company has grown significantly since the 1970s. RGG started out with only five employees. In 2008, the business peaked in staff with more than 120 employees. Since the recession, the number has leveled out to around 80.

RGG is a family business. John serves as second-generation management alongside his cousin, Michael Gosselin, Roger’s son and also vice president of RGG. Sadly, Roger passed away in 1984; Michael is proud to continue his father’s legacy.

Both John and Michael have been involved with the company from an early age. “You could say we were born into the business,” John notes. “The opportunity was there in high school and that is when I started working here.”

The experienced team operates from a single location in Derby Center, Vt. With diverse site work and concrete capabilities, RGG works all over the state and in New Hampshire. 80 to 90 percent of the company’s work is in the commercial sector, performing work that breaks ground for hospitals, schools and manufacturers. The business also has a presence in the homebuilding market.

Value and control

“Site work and concrete work comprise our biggest niche in the market,” John explains. “We know that those two components can sometimes be a real burden to a general contractor, especially when these aspects of a project are performed by two different subs. If something goes wrong, one will blame the other. We can take care of both, which gives us control over the quality of our end product as well as accountability to the general contractor.”

Repeat and referral work makes up a large portion of the company’s contracts. In homebuilding, RGG has partnered with several contractors in relationships that have lasted for decades. “They know we can simplify their process,” John explains. “They don’t have to coordinate the site work with the concrete work. It’s the same deal with our commercial clients. For larger general contractors we can make that aspect of a job flow much better.”

As a specialty subcontractor, the team’s target market is general contractors. These clients have brought in RGG for a diverse range of projects in several sectors. One of the more unusual and intricate projects the business has been involved with lately was a water treatment plant for a paper mill in Sheldon, Vt. The project at the Rock-Tenn facility will be a treatment system to reprocess water for reuse in the recycled papermaking process. Another unique segment of the business is building methane digesters for large farms that allow agricultural operations to harness energy from waste.

RGG also recently completed the site work and concrete for an expansion of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H. The end product of the project will be an eight-story building. “Right now we are getting ready to start work on a new ski lodge at Q. Burke Mountain Resort in East Burke, Vt.,” John adds. “We will be doing the concrete there and another contractor is doing the site work.”

Staying strong

Commercial construction is on the rise, resulting in more opportunities for contractors across the state. “Margins are still tight,” John notes, “But we do have work. I think it’s pretty much the same for everyone in our market. To counter that, we are working to perform as efficiently as possible. That will help us stay profitable as the market recovers.

“We have been fortunate in that we have built up a strong network,” he continues. “We continue to work with prior contractors and customers. A lot of our business is repeat work and we get a lot of new contracts through word-of-mouth. We have also diversified to the point where we have more options. We have the equipment and capabilities to do almost everything ourselves. When we do sub out work, such as fencing, paving, landscaping or miscellaneous metals, we work with a few select contractors and fabricators. The partners we typically work with are businesses that we know can complete the work in a timely manner and offer us a competitive price.”

The team is looking forward to growth in the coming years. Reporting a strong backlog of projects ahead, RGG is cautiously optimistic about the economy, though  the market is not what it was a decade ago. Despite the challenges, RG Gosselin Inc. continues to work, expanding its portfolio with challenging projects throughout Vermont.

Published on: November 10, 2014

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