There’s much more to demolition than swinging a wrecking ball at a building (like you see in the movies). In fact, from what we learned about demolition from Paolo Provenzano, President of Progreen Demolition, demolition is as much about the aftermath as it is about taking down a structure.
ProGreen Demolition Inc. is considered to be one of the most innovative demolition contractors there is in Ontario, something that is evident from their growing list of clients who, for the most part, have been attracted by word of mouth. The company serves the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding regions, and boasts their equipment as their competitive edge.
The company originated from the large arm of the excavation company that shares the same building as Progreen, a company called ANPRO Excavating. Provenzano says that about eight years ago, ANPRO had an abundance of unused equipment in their hands that needed refurbishing in order to continue to prove useful. This is where the innovation of the Progreen team came in. “We added hydrolic kits to run the equipment,” Provenzano said, and so became Progreen. Most of the original Progreen staff came from the ANPRO side of the business, and have been with the company ever since. When CBJ visited the head offices of Progreen, the strong company culture was clearly evident with a friendly staff and well-maintained facilities.
State-of-the-art equipment and a strong company culture have been critical parts of Progreen’s growth and their unique demolition techniques “set [them] apart from the rest.” Provenzano says that growth came relatively quickly and Progreen continued over the years to build its reputation through solid work ethic and good customer relations.
The Progreen team is expertly led by Provenzano, who says that the best part of the business for him is (surprisingly) not when a building is down, but instead “when we’re working on a major building and it’s down safely.”
Progreen has successfully brought down several major structures in Ontario, notably the Molson Breweries in Barrie and on Fleet St. in Toronto.
When asked how he grows business, and how it is that Progreen can do so well despite the fact that real estate development slowed during the recession, he says matter-of-factly “We’ve have never had a situation where we’ve refused work.” This means that Progreen will do anything required by their customers that relates to the process of demolition including fire remediation and removing hazardous material.
Progreen Demolition offers a variety of services one might not associate with demolition. In addition to straight demolition services, you can also request construction surveys, site remediation services, environmental abatement, hazardous material and waste removal, underground tank and liquid disposal and excavation. Provenzano says that expanding on existing business “just comes naturally on the different kinds of jobs that you get into.”
“It’s not just demolition. A lot of the calls [require] remediation, asbestos removal, it all depends on the project. They’re not all the same.”
Spreading the word
It helps that only a few companies do what Progreen does, and what’s more is that those who are in the business have a much more limited experience. “There are not too many in the business,” Provenzano explains. However, the company doesn’t just rely on word-of-mouth. They advertise quite a bit, and their trucks are painted in a way that makes them unmistakeable. “We have 31 trucks on the road, all they’re all red and yellow. People definitely know who we are. We go into a lot of detail into what our equipment looks like.”
The company is, according to their website, on-call to deliver superior service customers should “expect and deserve.” Provenzano and his staff live this credo to the letter, making sure to be there when the clients’ needs demand. “There are a lot of things to miss in my business,” he explains, which means that the Progreen has to be on top of projects, so to speak, all the time. “You could have a call at eight o’clock at night, and I have to be there.”
He says that a job truly starts in the pricing stages, depending on what the clients want. “If he wants assessments and engineers, as far as when we get the project, we have our own independent engineering staff who handles all of our structural assessments,” he adds. The company does site monitoring to see how the building will come down, and then a variety of steps take place depending on what level of preparation and remediation is required. “There are so many different aspects of what we do,” Provenzano continues.
Best in the business
A company is only as strong as its weakest worker, and Progreen can boast a tremendous staff who are the best in the business. “We have always been good workers,” he elaborates.
The company has a total of 68 employees, and most have been with Progreen since the beginning. “We’ve created a nice company here. People that have stayed here know I am committed to this,” Provenzano comments. Overall, Progreen is committed to its own growth, and committed to its clients through each and every worker. “Our name stands for who we are. We have a fabulous amount of clients, and good new clients coming in—we’ve been doing this for a long time.”
Although there are challenges to the demo business, it is mostly straight-forward. Progreen has no shortage of business coming in the residential and commercial sectors. Timing can be challenging, as well getting appropriate permits when dealing with a significant amount of red tape depending on the client. However, it’s all in a day’s work for Provenzano. “Trying to set up a large project, in can be a challenge to get utilities shut off—however, as far as the demo part, we have enough experience now [to deal with the challenges].”
Progreen’s equipment has been the key for the company. They can tackle large jobs with ease. “We use high reach, European equipment,” Provenzano says, referring to the extremely safe equipment employed by the company. The company also uses different types of equipment for remediation and clean-up.
For Progreen, managing a healthy level of growth, and doing it while safely managing projects is the number one priority. “Obviously in our business, safety is number one,” Provenzano says. “We do an extensive amount of training here,” he adds.
It’s no wonder that the company doesn’t need to do commercials or billboard advertising. With a growing market in Toronto (an area that has seen substantial infrastructure change in the last decade), a dedicated staff and a management team that really cares, Progreen will be expertly making space for new projects for many years to come.