Communication brings Massachusetts contractor through tough times

Updated Apr 1, 2013
Richard GordonRichard Gordon

Richard Gordon has been operating equipment since he was a kid, running Bobcats around in the yard, the machine a capable extension of his curious and active mind.

As he grew, he spent his summers working as a laborer and equipment operator before heading to Syracuse to pursue a degree in management.

When it came time to choose a career path, he considered following his degree or even pursuing real estate, but he couldn’t shake his love of the operator’s seat. “Equipment site work and construction is in my blood,” he says.

After spending four years with Tremont Construction out of Boston as a project manager and estimator, Gordon decided to strike out on his own in 1992 and started Baystate Engineering. For the first year I was in business, I just drove a dump truck,” Gordon recently recalled. “I was as happy as I’ve ever been.”

Baystate grew quickly and within 10 years Gordon had 50 employees. But after a sub-contract building a local high school went bad in 2003, Gordon nearly lost everything. But he never gave up.

Instead he made communication his top priority. He trimmed the fat from his equipment and reduced his staff dramatically. Within a few years, he was able to pay back everyone he owed money and completely rebuild his credit. For the last three years he’s been using between 20 and 25 guys and bringing in between $5 million and $7 million per year.

Paul Zarba of Avalon Bay began working with Richard in December of 2011. “With great competition they came with a very competitive price. They brought value and hit the budget with a tough client,” Zarba sas. “Everybody wanted this job. Rich does what he says. Predictability and the quality are there every day of the week.

Dave Putnam of Putnam Pipe says he has ben doing business with Baystate since 2004 and called Richard a “top 10 customer.” “I’ve been very fortunate to know Rich on a personal level. And I only do that with people I have the utmost respect for,” Putnam says. “He is a proprietor like I am, he is extremely conscientious, professional and very proficient. I need all of those qualities in my camp to make things work.”