It is a distinct pleasure and honor to write this letter of reference on behalf of the Tritec Building Company. We have been working with Tritec for the last four years and they are in the final stages of completing work on our new corporate headquarters. Thus, having worked with them these last four years we are in a good position to evaluate the performance of the company in general and the individuals who we have worked so closely with us on this project.
The following individuals were members of our Project team and who we worked directly with and to whom I direct my letter of recommendation.
Vice President of Field Operations
Director of Preconstruction
Our project that Tritec is completing for us is the “Stafford Technology Center” a two story, plus basement, building totally approximate SOK square feet located in East Setauket, Long Island. This building is unique in several ways. First: to satisfy town requirements and civic groups, as well as our own design specifications, its design more reflects that of a mansion than a commercial structure. Second: the key element in this structure is a PCI and SAS 70 Certified Data Center, which required not only special design considerations but construction techniques to meet the certification requirements.
Third: from the beginning we were determined to construct a green building; one that would give us LEEDs Certification; silver if not gold.
Finally, building such a structure in Suffolk County, Township of Brookhaven, is no small feat considering the bureaucracy and byzantine requirements of the various agencies.
The point here is to give you a perspective on the uniqueness of the project and the various issues the building company would have to face.
When we put the project out to bid some five years ago most perspective builders did not want to deal with what seemed to be a very complex project and also one that would make use of such innovative building techniques as SIP Panels for walls and roof. The few that bid on it did not inspire confidence in us, until we had our first meeting with Tritec. They found the project a challenge and frankly wanted to put up the first LEEDs commercial structure in Brookhaven, and they found the design and the incorporation of a Data Center, not so much either a challenge or even unique but just another facet that would make this building a showplace, which it has become. They won us over at the first meeting and the one thing that impressed me and our team is they were realistic about the cost and they did not try to come in on the side of cheapness which a couple of builders did. By the way, on the property is an “historic house” built after the Civil War that we must rehabilitate, but which can be used for a professional office. There are strict specifications on this rehabilitation which not every builder could meet, but Tritec will begin this project once the main building is finished.
Chris Young and Marty DePasquale worked with us doing the preconstruction phase which lasted nearly a year. During this Phase the detailed design was worked out and blue prints finalized, bids were sent out and evaluated, the construction budget was drawn up and finalized and the all important permits were filed for. This period was long and drawn out because of problems we had with our initial architect, which added to the workload placed on Chris and Marty.
Once the project finally got underway with site clearance, Ken Abrami took charge as Project Executive and he along with Rich Krill, the Project Manager, directly took charge of the many facets of this construction, and as we said considering the uniqueness of the project he was kept extremely busy surmounting the many challenges we faced from the site itself – it was extremely hilly and had to be leveled according to town requirements – and to facing the challenges of Mother Nature. If this winter was bad last year was not much better.
Performance on Our Project
We could not be more satisfied relative to Tritec’s performance. Again, the uniqueness of the project, the LEEDs requirements and our own demands were always met with a “can do attitude”. And the fact that we passed all requirements for CO’s and all requirements for Data Center Certification with only the most minimal issues, such as more paperwork or an additional fire extinguisher here, an additional sign there, speaks for itself. Two points to illustrate our satisfaction and a typical Tritec employee. Our site superintendent who we call “RickyD” is unbelievable. He has almost a fetish for site cleanliness and I have read his memos to the contactors on this and I commented to him on this detail and his response was and I quote, “a clean site is a safe site”, who can argue with that philosophy. Also, his attention to detail is again striking. I have seen him tell contractors to redo something he didn’t like and again when I commented on this and here we go with more quotes his response was, “it’s our building also, were building this.” And this attitude purveys all levels of Tritec from the owners to Ken and his team and Tritec employees, they see this as their building and it’s going to be done right. I think half, if not most of Tritec, from the owners to the secretaries have visited the site so all know what is being done and the state of the project.
Since we are nearing the end; “Thank God”, once a week we walk through the building and look for issues, such as a spot on a wall that needs patching or a ceiling tile is stained and then Kenneth, COO of Stafford and our liaison to Tritec, emails RickyD the list and wouldn’t you know he has it on his list. It has become almost a game to find something he is unaware of. As I said, this attitude of perfection and commitment to detail as well as the attitude in which each individual takes ownership of the project is remarkable, but typical to Tritec.
Attention to detail
This is one of the strong points of doing business with Tritec, their attention to all fascists of the project and the costing; and continual reevaluation of the budget. As the person at Stafford’s who pays the bills I deal intimately with the costing of this project. At least once a month we get a revised estimate from Tritec on the budget. Prior to and during the initial construction phase we met several times a month to discuss the budget. We were initially surprised to find them coming up with cost saving recommendations, either in the design or the use of materials. We have always emphasized quality over cheapness since as we know from our own business experience you get what you pay for; but Tritec has been able to save us thousands through their suggestions that never sacrificed quality or security just to save a buck. We don’t do things that way and neither does Tritec.
From the beginning Tritec drew up a Perk Chart to schedule each facet of the construction stages and to give us a realistic time line for occupancy. And while the project is behind schedule, it was due to issues that we could never have imagined nor did Tritec. The project proved too ambitious for our initial architect and together with personal issues, “disappeared” from the project. Again to illustrate Tritec’s attention to detail, at the first month’s meetings when the initial project designs were being studied and reviewed. We became aware of Tritec’s uneasiness with the architect and his drawings as Tritec questioned his plans and use of materials and they could not get satisfactory answers and they were clearly uncomfortable with some of the design and his implementation. That was when we realized we had a problem which was solved by the “disappearance” of the architect which allowed us to bring in a new firm in which Tritec and the architectural firm developed a most effective relationship. I think we would have been in worst trouble and faced far greater delays had not Tritec questioned the design and exposed its weaknesses. For that we are ever thankful.
Coordination of Project Team
Ken Abrami and his team were a delight to work with, everything ran like clockwork. What we specifically liked was the hands on approach to oversight and management. Rich Krill ran the project more on sight than from his desk at Tritec. Our present location is only a mile from our new building and there wasn’t a day that one of us was not there and, of course, we would run into Ken, Rich or one of his team as they walked the site and scribbled notes on the ubiquitous note pad all seem to carry. We went into this as neophytes and with great trepidation but it did not take long for us to realize that, as the commercial goes, “You’re in good Hands” with Ken and his team and we, as again the commercial goes, left the driving to them.
Quality of Construction
As we said, this building being built is more of a mansion than standard box commercial structure. What adds to the uniqueness of the building is the attention to detail which will readily show up in the finished product. The quality of the construction can be best exemplified by a couple of comments. Last week I gave an executive of the IDA a tour of the building, and he ask me directly was I satisfied with the construction company and I said that I was more than satisfied and his comeback to me, and I quote him directly, was; “Tritec does good work”. Two months ago we had the Setauket Fire Department conduct a final inspection of the building after which they would issue a formal letter of satisfaction. Leading the inspection was the Assistant Fire Chief who was a former Captain in FDNY. After the inspection we got to talking and I asked him, if there were any issues. Again a direct quote: “Seldom do you see this quality of construction in a commercial structure.” Over and over again we have been told from the bank’s engineers through to the Brookhaven Building department that, and this I’m paraphrasing since it sums up several views, “You can rely on Tritec for code conformity and attention to detail.”
In the initial preconstruction phase we literally met 3 to 4 times a month with Tritec as they ironed out details, brought in mechanical and structural engineers, etc. Now we are down to once a month of formal meetings but at least once a week one of us will be called to go on site to discuss some issue or approve a finished product. Emails fly back and forth constantly, and I must say that if you have an issue or a question you can contact them day or night, workday or weekend and never do we play phone tag.
A Final Summation
One final point, I’m an academic and have in the course of my career written all too many recommendations for my students to graduate school and/or for career positions; and also as a company executive I have read and am reading letters of recommendations for positions, since we will be hiring. Whenever you read a recommendation that seems too good to be true, you ask yourself is the recommender being a bit superfluous or too flowery. Well anyone who knows Dr. Stafford realizes that I am not easily given to superlatives. To confirm my views, first go to Stafford Associates Website: www.Staffordnet.com, and you will see the building. There are nearly one hundred photographs of the building from conception to the present taken by me. Secondly, I welcome you to come out and we will give you a tour of the building and you can judge for yourself Tritec’s performance. We looked at what Tritec had previously built, and this only confirmed our initial view so should you. And the final point, these comments would easily be seconded by anyone familiar with Tritec, their work, and their employees.
If you have any questions or if I can be of any further assistance please feel free to call upon me.