Contractor Spotlight: Cannistraro

This mechanical construction company in Boston has figured out the pieces to the puzzle that makes a company successful.

Employees. Customers. Finances. Operations. While they seem like four random topics, they are pieces to a company’s puzzle for success. For J.C. Cannistraro, a family-owned mechanical construction firm in Boston since 1963, those four pieces are the reason the company has earned high praise throughout the industry. 

Last year, Cannistraro was awarded Plumbing Contractor of the Year by the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association at its annual conference, in recognition of the company’s dedication to the industry. 

J.C Cannistraro opened its doors with John Cannistraro Sr. and just two other employees. Working strictly on the plumbing side of the industry, Cannistaro Sr. started with nothing more than $1,500 and the support of his wife. That support, coupled with hard work, would see the small company grow more than 200 percent in the last 50 plus years. 

Now, with more than 700 employees, the company still treats each person with the same respect and thoughtfulness the three original members did with each other.

Laura Cannistaro, client service coordinator for Cannistraro, notes that the company’s strategy when it comes to employees is, “Recruit, develop and retain those who embody our core competencies of integrity, compassion, customer focus and drive for results.”

The company encourages participation of employees in professional organizations and continuing education programs, and offers training across different areas of the company, leadership development, and in-house mentoring. 

Cannistaro Sr. points out that business success is in the shape of a triangle. One of the points of the triangle is “honor and respect (to) all of your employees.” With this principle at the core, it is no wonder that Cannistraro was named a “Top Place to Work” by the Boston Globe in 2016.  
The puzzle doesn’t stop at employees, as there is a direct connection from employees to the customers. Making sure that from start to finish, people that rely on Cannistraro are always satisfied.

 “Always taking care of the customers no matter what; this was one of Mr. C’s founding principles. Our people are always available for our clients to call upon and rely on,” says Laura Cannistaro. “Our customer strategy is to partner with customers who appreciate our value and relentlessly pursue their satisfaction. Customers trust us and that's what is important.”

In keeping the customer in mind, Cannistraro has invested in the development of time-saving installation procedures, prefabrication of piping systems and other methods designed to provide quality work at reduced costs. 

To ensure clients are happy when the project is completed, post-project meetings with customers are set-up as a platform for the project team to gain feedback. 

Cannistraro also holds quarterly lunches as roundtable discussions with employees on progress, as well as to keep the doors of communication and transparency open for all. It’s a great way participate in every aspect of the business and learn how to be of better service to customers. 

It’s not just its clients that Cannistraro dedicates its time to help. The company has made it a point to get out there into the community, and the world, to help with different types of charitable causes.

Locally, it has an annual company picnic and Turkey Toss that helps donate food to a local food bank. Internationally, Cannistraro connected with Partners in Health in 2010 and helped rebuild a world-class hospital in Haiti following the earthquake that hit the nation that same year. 

When the employee and customer pieces connect, it creates the perfect spot for the financial puzzle piece to slide in. 

With that hard work and innovative attitude, it’s not hard to see how this company that once started with just $1,500 in the bank, now has an annual revenue that exceeds $200 million. 

“Consistently earn a reasonable profit that allows the company to reinvest for the future, reward employees and provide shareholder return,” says Laura Cannistraro. 

The company does a great job in reinvesting for the future as it makes it a point to participate in apprentice training, industry funds, code committees, labor negotiations and association leadership.  

While those three pieces have fit nicely, the one that brings it all together is the operations side. 

On this side of the industry, Cannistraro aims to, “Deploy technology, processes and methods that inspire teamwork, improve efficiency, mitigate risk and improve safety.” 

Through the years and its willingness to do be involved in change, Cannistraro has been able to expand its services. While the company still has its roots in plumbing projects, it also provides: fire protection, HVAC piping and sheet metal, and turnkey service and maintenance for its customers. The expansion in services has allowed the company to become the largest mechanical construction company in the Greater Boston area.  

“Back in the early 2000s, the company saw the positive impact 3D modeling and offsite prefabrication could have on safety, quality and schedule, so we invested in the tools, training and resources needed to become experts in BIM, says Laura Cannistraro. “Our advancements in coordination led to the development and expansion of our world-class prefabrication operations, which are still being refined today as part of our ongoing emphasis on continuous improvement.

This mission for the company has led to high-profile projects that can be seen throughout Boston. 

Cannistraro was one of ten contractors assigned to work on the Millennium Tower, a 58-story condominium skyscraper. The building, that is now the third largest building in the Boston Skyline, was finished earlier this year with Cannistraro working on the building’s fire protection and plumbing systems. 

Before that, Cannistraro was a part of the rehabilitation project for the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Staying dedicated to the innovation side of its mission, Cannistraro has made a commitment to adopting methodology and equipment never used in the industry before, which includes automates grooving, cutting, t-pulling, bending and end forming. 

The company’s latest operation is another step in staying innovative. 

“Our next big step is to move all of our prefabrication operations, warehousing and logistics to our new centralized manufacturing facility in Boston’s bustling Seaport District, where we can collaborate with all kinds of partner services and produce modular building assemblies,” says Laura Cannistraro.

With the pieces in place, the success puzzle that Cannistraro has been working on since 1963 seems to be firmly in place. 

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