Contractor honors his father’s legacy with successful paving business

Marcia Doyle Headshot

Joe Delgado

The TCW in TCW Construction stands for “Tony’s Cement Works,” a tribute to the company started by Joe Delgado’s father, which concentrated on driveways, sidewalks and patios.

“We use his wheelbarrow logo to this day,” says Delgado, president of the Lincoln, Nebraska firm and one of Equipment World’s 2015 Contractor of the Year finalists.

In true American dream fashion, however, the son’s company has far eclipsed what his father started. Today, the $14 million to $15 million firm does mainline street and airport paving, has a ready-mix operation, and holds the local franchise for Butler Buildings.

“I didn’t think I was going to college, because my parents were not well off and the Bottoms area of Lincoln is not an area where a lot of kids went to college,” Delgado recalls. But an opportunity came, and eventually armed with a construction management degree from the University of Nebraska, Delgado began working for giant Kiewit Corporation in Colorado.

After several years with Kiewit, home called, and Delgado joined his father in 1981. The company immediately expanded its focus, doing large box culverts and bridge jobs for the Nebraska Department of Roads, and cleaning up contaminated soils for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

After buying the firm in 1998, Delgado started Husker Ready Mix and bought a Butler Building franchise. Eventually, he acquired a crusher to process the excess concrete from TCW’s jobs and the concrete plant. “This gives us aggregate for both ourselves and our clients,” Delgado says.

Concentrating on concrete, the company does both mainline street and airport paving and curb and gutter work. Building erection, along with installing culverts, keeps his crews busy in the winter. During peak summer times, TCW’s crew expands from 30, including four fulltime mechanics, to around 100.

TCW’s fleet includes excavators, wheel loaders, backhoes, compactors and compact track loaders; it truck fleet has 12 side dumps and 15 ready mix trucks. While his dozers have GPS, Delgado is eyeing using GPS on his paving equipment.

Safety is a prime concern, one that Delgado says he deals with first hand. “I’m in the field a lot, and it’s important to have safety meeting on the type of work the crews are doing that week.”

Because of Delgado’s Mexican American heritage, TCW is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, a designation that helped the company get started with NDR work. TCW started as a sub, but now is a prime contractor.

“We like prime work better because we can determine our own destiny,” Delgado says. “Not everybody cares for the DBE program, but if people get a fair price, it makes it so much easier. Now we have come to a point where we don’t have to have a DBE. Road jobs have really helped us get the volume.”