In the heart of the Garden State, where the convergence of heritage and innovation unfolds, Sordoni Construction has carved a niche for itself through its deep-rooted values and unparalleled commitment to the community. The company, under the seasoned leadership of President & CEO Matthew Lorenzo, showcases what it means to bridge world-class construction methodologies with a deep-seated understanding of the local fabric, like the Asbury Ocean Club, the Observation Wheel at the American Dream Entertainment Retail Center, and the Novartis Visitor’s Center. We sat down with Matthew to delve deeper into the driving forces behind their success and the magic of local partnership.
Matt, can you elaborate on the unique value Sordoni Construction brings to the New Jersey market?
Sordoni’s essence is deeply rooted in New Jersey. One of the most important elements of our company is that we are an ESOP. That means everyone has an ownership stake in what we do. It’s not just a job for them; it’s their company. And there’s something magical that happens when people realize they aren’t just working for a paycheck but for the success of their own enterprise. This ethos is manifested in the dedication and passion each team member brings to every project.
We pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of our local knowledge. It’s a unique characteristic, and I believe it stems from our team comprising of some of the best talent in the region. When you hire Sordoni, you’re not just contracting a company – you’re partnering with people who’ve grown up going to those shopping malls, and who understand every nuance of what’s crucial to local municipalities. In a nutshell, our value proposition is a blend of intimate local knowledge and technical expertise.
It’s not merely about laying bricks or constructing structures for us. It’s about crafting legacies, understanding the pulse of the region, and integrating that essence into our projects. The tangible benefits of this approach are manifold: quicker permissions, a better grasp of local regulations, and a deep-rooted commitment to delivering projects that resonate with the people.
The New Jersey development landscape is intricate. How does your deep-rooted connection give collaborators an edge?
Our presence in New Jersey isn’t a business choice, but a legacy. We understand the local textures, the seasonal variations, and the demographic pulse. For instance, in Asbury Park, where we collaborated with iStar, it wasn’t just about constructing buildings. It was about revitalizing a community, reflecting its rich history while accommodating the needs of its future. It’s this nuanced understanding, I believe, that gives our partners an unparalleled advantage.
One of the things that I think is a real difference-maker for us is the fact that we live here, right? This is where we are. I’m not flying in from Texas, trying to figure out how to build a shopping mall in New Jersey. I know that Route 4 has three different townships in about a mile and a half stretch, and each of those townships has its own mayor, its own building department, and its own set of regulations.
Our connection doesn’t just stem from our history but from the continuous effort we make to stay connected. Regular engagements with local communities, municipal leaders, forums, and stakeholders ensure we’re always in the loop about the ever-evolving requirements and aspirations of the regions we serve. This gives our collaborators an insider’s advantage.
With specific construction regulations in New Jersey, how do you ensure a smooth operation?
Our experience in New Jersey is exhaustive. We’ve built relationships with local regulators and community leaders, ensuring our projects not only adhere to codes but are also embraced by the community. We work in tandem with municipalities to ensure everyone’s objectives are aligned, and abide by a strict principle of communication and transparency.
Beyond the regulations, there’s the element of trust. Over the years, our consistent adherence to quality, safety, and community welfare has allowed us to build a bond of trust with authorities. This trust means smoother operations and an overall streamlined process – all pivotal for timely project completion.
Speaking of the community, how do you ensure your projects resonate with local New Jersey communities?
Community is at the heart of everything we do. Take Asbury Park: our collaboration with iStar wasn’t just a commercial venture. We were tasked with rejuvenating a heritage-rich region. So, understanding the aspirations of the local residents, the cultural implications, and the socio-economic trends was vital. Our projects don’t just add to the skyline; they add to the story of New Jersey.
For us, we’re not just building an edifice. We’re constructing spaces where communities can thrive and memories can be forged. Our project ideation always starts with our client’s needs, first and foremost. But because our crews are largely made up of local talent, we appreciate that these buildings signify something more than the bricks and mortar. It’s important that the final result isn’t just another building but a meaningful addition to the community.
Let’s touch on the economic contribution. How does partnering with Sordoni Construction affect the local economy?
When we go into an area, we view ourselves as a partner to the community. This isn’t merely about the structures we erect; it’s about the connections we make. By employing local construction and engineering crews and supporting local vendors, we’re fueling the community’s economic engine. That inherently brings business to an area. We look to work with local vendors, but most importantly, the majority of our contractors are local. By supporting them, you get greater productivity because people are working close to home, and you’re helping local businesses move forward. We’ll know the local vendors, the local suppliers, the local hardware store…every local restaurant. My guys will give you a Zagat review of everything within three miles of where we build.
But our commitment runs deeper than just business. We always try to be a good corporate citizen. We’ve put our weight behind initiatives like the 2017 Sticks & Fundraiser to support the capital needs of the Chilton Medical Center Atlantic Health Systems, and their affiliates; and the 2022 Sordoni Golf Classic in support of wellness programs at the Linda E. Cardinale Multiple Sclerosis Center. We’ve also supported various events with St. Peter University, including the 2019 Sordoni Construction Golf Classic, with funds supporting St. Peter’s University’s Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center; and two Professional Development Day events, to provide mentorship, one-on-one resume critiques, workshops, and mock job interviews with students.
Next was our 2023 Sordoni Golf Classic event for Bergen County’s United Way on October 10th, which supported the organization’s effort to address the affordable housing crisis in New Jersey. The event was done in conjunction with their partners at the Madeline Corporation, whose mission is to build homes people can afford, with a focus on low and moderate-income families, seniors, veterans, and individuals with physical and developmental disabilities, such as autism, down syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.
Sustainability is top of mind for a lot of development projects. What does sustainability look like in New Jersey?
Unlike places like California and New York, which both have large state-wide initiatives around sustainability projects, New Jersey’s focus on sustainability, specifically, tends to be more localized. For instance, a project we’re working on in Princeton reflects a focus driven by its Princeton Climate Action Plan (CAP). In a case like this, it comes back to understanding how the local municipality interprets the guidelines to ensure our materials and methods are in compliance with the things they aim to emphasize. And that’s what makes it hard because this isn’t about the building codes, which are the same and aren’t subject to interpretation. If you don’t take time to learn the nuance of what is important at the municipal level it can be more challenging to understand exactly what to build.
One way we’re approaching sustainability is to look at existing sites and structures to build on. One great example is the shopping malls – of which NJ has many. And the shopping malls we knew in the 80s are really a thing of the past. Every shopping mall in New Jersey is putting in a residential component to showcase more of a “live, work, play” type component. So we see that constantly. We’re working on several different projects like that in the planning phases. That’s something we can bring something to the table there.
Lastly, what’s Sordoni Construction’s view on innovation and what does it mean for the business?
When it comes to innovation, Sordoni has the same technology as any large company. But our uniqueness? We combine big contractor capabilities with the accessibility of a small one. We haven’t found a better way to build a better mousetrap, but we know how to empower our people. Remember, buildings are built by human beings. Our real difference? Our people are owners of the company. They’re building in their communities, and there’s pride in that. They aren’t just workers; they’re stakeholders. That’s our ‘secret sauce’.”
Sordoni Construction stands as a testament to the power of regional expertise and community-driven values. Our seamless blend of world-class methodologies with deep-rooted community values offers a unique proposition for anyone looking to make a mark in the New Jersey construction landscape. If you’re ready to embark on your next venture in the Garden State with a strategic partner, connect with us.