For over a decade, RIPA & Associates has been working throughout central Florida, completing as many as 300 projects each year in site development and civil construction.
Founded in 1998 by Frank Ripa, the company today has 200 employees and, in 2008, had annual revenue of $75 million. Serving the residential, commercial, industrial and municipal sectors, RIPA has its headquarters and maintenance offices in Tampa. Mr. Ripa brings over 35 years of experience to the company from the engineering and construction fields in Florida.
“Our business philosophy has always been a strong commitment to providing superior customer service,” says Vice President Chris LaFace. RIPA offers general contractors, developers, and municipalities a wide variety of services including clearing, excavating, utilities, and road building.
RIPA is a member of Associated General Contractors, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter which provides the company with great networking opportunities and educational services. AGC FGC’s also gives companies like RIPA a voice in government on issues that affect the industry.
The company self-performs all aspects of its work with the exception of asphalt paving. On an overflow basis, RIPA relies on subcontractors on occasion for earthwork and utilities. RIPA has built a solid core of field management and is fortunate to have a strong nucleus of field superintendents and project managers who allow RIPA to make good on its dedication to superior customer service.
When recruiting new personnel, RIPA uses staffing agencies and local advertising in magazines and newspapers to bring in new hires. Once hired, a training class is attended as well as periodic safety and skills training. RIPA has a detailed safety program and safety director to ensure their standards are maintained on each project. The company promotes a culture of environmental, health, and safety through training, holding each employee accountable, developing and improving procedures to prevent or mitigate workplace hazards, and provides periodic recognition for their employees.
Always able to stay busy, RIPA is completing site work for The Grove at Wesley Chapel, a large outdoor mall in Pasco County including a 20-screen theater and a budget of approximately $24 million. Also on the agenda are several road projects such as Sun Lake Blvd extension in Pasco County as well as 4.5 miles of reconstruction of Bruce B. Downs Blvd also located in Pasco County. The company was also recently awarded school projects including EEE High School in Pasco County as well as Berkeley Preparatory, a private school in Hillsborough County.
Though horizontal construction is not as easily adaptable to green methods as vertical construction, RIPA is employing sustainable practices where possible. When demolition is involved, the company recycles as much of the crushed concrete it can to utilize for road base. Other green methods include grinding cleared trees to mulch rather than burning them. RIPA has also employed the use of warm mix asphalt which produces fewer emissions into the atmosphere and saves on labor. Given the nature of RIPA’s work, this is about the extent to which the company can adopt green practices as there is little difference in how the company is required to prepare a site. The site work is the usually somewhat similar whether it will be the home of a green structure or a traditional structure. RIPA has been involved in LEED projects but in today’s tough economy, due to the increased cost, there are fewer of these types of projects than in past years.
As sites become tougher to permit, RIPA is also seeing the use of underground stormwater storage systems increase. The company also plans to increase their use of GPS systems that allow them to be more precise in earth work and piping.
The minds of most businesses are preoccupied with the unsteady economy and RIPA is no exception; however, the company remains optimistic. “We are very fortunate to have the backlog that we have. While the private side is definitely slower than what we are used to there still seems to be a steady flow of public sector work,. It’s definitely a challenging time, but we just have to try to continually adjust our company with what the market gives us. Our core business is site and road work and there is still a descent amount of that work out there,” says LaFace.
The company’s ability to perform projects with superior customer service is sure to serve them well in this climate. RIPA’s “unparalleled expertise” in the field coupled with their optimism will allow the company to sustain through this crisis.
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