How Rich and Gardner Went From Team to Family — and Why It Matters for Our Clients

For over three decades, our clients throughout the Northeast have relied on Rich and Gardner for dedicated craftsmanship expertly tailored to their needs. But there are many construction companies to choose from, and plenty that will do good, skilled work.

So what truly sets Rich and Gardner apart, and leads past clients to consistently recommend us for design, building, and renovation work in Central New York and beyond?

Simple: We are more than just a team. We’re a family.

If you are seeking the right fit for your Design-Build, Construction Management, or General Contracting project, you should know that the high value we place on fostering a family feeling within our team yields significant benefits for our clients, too. It energizes us to pursue dynamic, unique solutions, and work better together to maximize efficiency, budget, and time. Furthermore, the positive workplace culture at Rich and Gardner means that many members of our team have been here for at least fifteen to twenty years, if not more. That longevity translates directly into value for our clients.

Ultimately, it all combines to create a better final product and a less costly bottom line for you.

Experience, dedication, passion, and reliability have always been hallmarks of our work. But for us, a good team goes beyond a group of hard-working individuals collaborating through expertise and shared vision. It’s important to us that we genuinely enjoy spending time with each other. After all, we spend a third of our lives at work.

But it doesn’t just happen overnight, and plenty of companies struggle to build a family culture. In fact, in a recent survey, only 26% of employees polled reported that their organization felt like a family.

So how did we do it at Rich and Gardner? Read on to discover the secrets of our success.

Start at the Top

There’s one key difference between a good construction project and a good company culture: construction is built from the bottom-up, but company culture comes from the top-down!

Team members in any organization will tend to look towards those in leadership positions and take their cue for how to behave at work. Bad workplace cultures, which often lack good communication, engagement, and a spirit of cooperation, can lead to high turnover, resentment, and poor motivation.

That’s why everyone on our senior leadership team, from Dan Gardner, our Founder, Rob Swietoniowski, our President, to Executive Vice President Terry Summers and Vice Presidents Joe Donegan, Mike Gardner, and Jennifer Barnes strive each day to model positive attitudes and actions, and meaningful engagement with the rest of the team.

Whether completing a construction project, working through design review sessions with an architect, coordinating subcontractors, or using the latest technology to develop accurate estimates that provide the best value, senior leadership at Rich and Gardner is proud to set an example for our loyal and seasoned team.

That brings us to the next key component of building a family atmosphere at work…

Trust the Team

With a group of professionals as experienced as our team, we can trust that they will get the job done. Jeff Taylor, our Controller, and our Project Managers, Steve Small, Jim Riscica, Mike Freund, and Melanie Tracy, bear some of the most important and challenging responsibilities on every one of our projects. And yet, with their deep knowledge and know-how, they make it look easy. Through trust and mutual respect, each valued member of our family is able to do their work with autonomy, and invest themselves in achieving the best possible outcome.

Furthermore, when there is so much trust between colleagues, there are always plenty of accomplishments to acknowledge…and we are always eager to congratulate each other on a job well done. From our Warehouse Manager John Pouliot, Safety Director Justin Kukulski, and the rest of our team mentioned above, members of the Rich and Gardner family are constantly exceeding expectations to go above and beyond.

Be Proactive

Many organizations claim that their team is more like a family, but it isn’t always true, and can sometimes even become a toxic mentality in and of itself. However, by being proactive, we work to ensure our work family stays healthy.

To us, a workplace family isn’t one that fights all the time, feels afraid to speak up, or is loyal to the point of fault. Rather, we think of our Rich and Gardner family as a place where every team member is set up for success through respect, trust, and a supportive atmosphere where they feel valued and free to do their best work.

When our family does their best work, our clients receive the very best final product. It’s worked for over three decades, after all. 

If your company wants to build and renovate a property, don’t hesitate to contact us. For inquiries, reach us at  315-474-1900.