Scale Construction Inc. is a family owned, family operated construction company that specializes in general construction, construction management services, and design/ build. Working in the public and private sectors, the company covers just about everything concrete in the institutional, industrial, and commercial markets. Carole Raffin-Zordani started the company in 1990. “It's all I knew,” says Carole, being raised in a construction environment. Her father and grandfather were mason contractors. Today, two of Carole's children, John Zordani, operations manager, and Gina Raffin, vice president, take part in the family business.
Carole: It's amazing to see what they've done. John has a civil engineering background and Gina has expertise in business and finance. It made sense to bring them in.
Gina: My mom built this foundation, we add to it, but my mom is the driving force. It took my mom a lot of guts to do what she did and she has been a very positive influence.
Carole: It was very difficult being a woman in this business. For a while I just used my initials instead of my full name. You just have to play the game. The most difficult part was getting financed for projects. It wasn't until I met with a woman from Harris Bank that I received my first line of credit. Until then, our senior estimator, Vern Vojak would take over the conversation when it came to financing.
Gina: Vern is an integral part of Scale Construction. He has been with us from the very beginning. We're all part of a family here and we understand that getting the job done right requires being flexible with our employees' needs. I often bring my daughter to the office with me, as do other employees on occasion. Construction is a family business.
Carole: We've always been careful choosing the people who work here; they need to have an expertise. We don't like to turnover employees, we believe in longevity. Family is important and our employees are part of the family.
Gina: My mom chairs the Hispanic American Construction Industry Scholarship Program. In fact, one of our project managers, Rodrigo Martinez, was a recipient of the scholarship.
Carole: I can sympathize with a young company, especially if a woman or minority manages it. When I started, I received help from other companies, so I believe in giving back. There are definitely more opportunities today for women and minorities in the construction business. I probably would have done some things differently from when I started, but with time comes wisdom.
John: We can have anywhere from 20 to 25 different projects at any given time in different phases. Working in a functioning facility is probably our biggest challenge, but we will develop the service the client needs.
Gina: John was involved in “going green” in its earlier years, and together we're trying to get more involved with LEED certification. We see it reflected in more projects now.
Carole: We started by bidding on smaller jobs and now we have the expertise and a whole new confidence.
John: We prepare ourselves by seeing what's coming down the pike and we are willing to take risks others can't. We're the company that comes up with ideas to solve problems. One of our strategies is focusing on concrete; there is constant innovation in it. Every project has its own challenges, but concrete is so flexible, that's why we like using it. We have to be able to build anything and we're not afraid to go after tough projects.