David Costello of Costello Construction is a general contractor with a fleet of excavators, dump trucks, loaders, and more.
Costello Construction David Costello of Costello Construction is a general contractor with a fleet of excavators, dump trucks, loaders, and more.

Success may change the jobs you do and the way you dress but it doesn’t change who you are. At least it hasn’t for David Costello. “I look at competitors who have grown exponentially. They were able to nurture people in the office and grow. My company hasn‘t done that because my relationships were with the guys in the field—they were my partners. We are hands-on guys, which lets us keep close tabs on quality and cost and helps to build a sense of teamwork. They all know they can call and ask for help and that I’ll show up in a pair of work boots. It’s made us successful at the level we’re at.”

As a general contractor, Costello Construction self-performs its sitework and does a lot of tilt-up concrete, including the recently completed National Museum of Health and Medicine. Costello started in construction as a college summer job. “My dad was a professional research doctor who never had anything to do with construction and I’m just a dumb contractor. I went about as different a direction as one can possibly go!”

With a current $30 million backlog and 60 employees, Costello’s approach has been to do everything internally whenever possible. “Other guys ended up with huge organizations but they don’t own a shovel. Our volume has not grown as much as some others but we own millions of dollars in equipment. We have a fleet of excavators, dump trucks, loaders, and so on—this huge back-of-house operation that few people see. It’s an enormous challenge to keep it all running. We spend a lot of time making sure our equipment is maintained and ready to be used and that our guys are properly trained to use it.”

Costello’s advice for contractors: “Pay attention to the details and never become complacent. You have to surround yourself with really good people who never take their eye off the ball.”