Projects with Significance

Key Construction Services

Only dead fish go with the flow. While nobody’s sure exactly who came up with that line, it is very true, especially for this top-class general contractor. Alfred Torreggiani, owner, founder, and president, is definitely no conformist. For him, success in this industry boils down to great people, continuity, and quality control – like nobody else.
~
By self-performing the majority of its work, Poughkeepsie, New York-based Key Construction Services is not your average contractor in the New York tri-state area. This big league general contractor started as a construction and renovations contractor in the interiors market. While this is still a division of the greater business, Key Construction Services, LLC also specializes in construction management and design-build assistance, acting as a hands-on and very knowledgeable link between engineering and design teams and job sites. This service mainly offers great time and money savings and gives owners peace of mind knowing that their valuable building projects are safe in the hands of this capable contractor.

Its interiors division is a big part of its popularity, as it focuses on designing and creating retail spaces, emergency rooms, police facilities, emergency rooms, and biomedical manufacturing facilities. Out of all of its services, however, its most popular is still its drywalling and next-level acoustical treatment installations, like soundproofing.

Now, before the plight of musicians in high-density urban areas rocks you, please allow me to point out that soundproofing gets a lot more interesting than that. Surprisingly, it is not the music industry and theatres that make the most use of the company’s acoustical treatment services, although these do form a large part of its business. Sound is a lot harder to contain than water; as a result, high confidentiality and even secrecy are often on the shopping lists of clients looking to procure the company’s soundproofing services.

On one such project, the team soundproofed a think-tank area for a medical prostheses company to keep its discussions of new developments confidential. By the end of the project, the walls, door, ceiling, and even the ductwork was soundproof – all thanks to some seriously great engineering.

Key Construction Services is singular in implementing and bringing such ideas to life. “You could have fired a weapon in there, and nobody would’ve heard it,” says Alfred.

The company has even installed acoustical treatments at an arena in Westchester County, NY. To help muffle the adrenaline-filled echoes of thousands of spectators, baffles were installed at various heights to break up the sound and bring at least some sense of focus to the players beneath.

Key Construction Services is also a leader in specialty medical facility installations like lead wall linings for x-ray rooms, copper-lined walls for radiation rooms in cancer facilities, as well as the placement of CT scanners where zero vibration is an important factor. Having completed seventy-five successful medical projects, it stands to reason that the company is just as sought-after by its local medical industry as the latest medical technology.

Its proudest project in the field was the construction of the St. Francis Level 2 trauma center in Poughkeepsie, New York. About a year after the construction of the facility, Alfred’s eleven-year-old nephew was running around second base when his heart stopped. By grace, there was a defibrillator on site, and a helicopter whipped him out of there and straight to the trauma unit in no time.

“If that trauma center wasn’t there, he wouldn’t have made it,” says a very grateful Alfred. Today, his nephew is a healthy youngster with an unforgettable story of survival to tell. “A lot of people have been saved thanks to that trauma center. We are very proud to be associated with it,” he says.

The company is also very proud of its latest project. It is doing the interior tower package of the $576,000,000 Vassar Brothers Hospital, also in Poughkeepsie, New York. The project is worth around $12,000,000 in revenue for Key Construction Services, and it is much honored to be part of this landmark project.

There are also a few historical projects that stand out, like the 1869 Bardavon Opera House on 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New York. This is rated as one of its coolest jobs yet, as it comprised restoring the theatre to its former glory, in a task every bit as difficult as it was rewarding. Even today, Key Construction Services remains a great supporter of the theatre.

One of its toughest challenges and its largest project to date came in 2013 when building the Metropolitan Transportation Association Police Department’s canine training facility for sniffer dogs in Stormville, New York. The project was spurred by the 9/11 attack. This next-level facility is set up to train dogs to find explosives on public transport, and the work that went into building it was awe-inspiring. “The customer was so happy. We received a lot of public recognition for that job,” says Alfred.

For this company, projects that have meaning within its own society are always special. One of these was the firehouse that the president got to build around the corner from his house. “We have such a great relationship with all these guys. It’s really close to my heart,” says Alfred.

History proves that life does not always seem like it is sparkling with potential at first glance, though. When Alfred left the military in the early eighties, he discovered that the job market in the construction industry was pretty low, but he nonetheless joined as a carpenter and framer, working for other people. In the early nineties, he joined his brother’s friend’s construction company where he had the opportunity to start out in the field and later ended up working in the office. Sadly, this company went out of business around the mid-nineties, and Alfred took a shot at starting his own drywall company.

With a young family to take care of and never one to shy away from hard work, Alfred took the chance and stepped out on his own. In 1999, he joined forces with general contractor Glomar Construction, and together, the team created the original interior division within that company, making both outfits a lot more competitive. Alfred ended up buying his business partner out and Key Construction Services was born. The company grew by leaps and bounds from building bathrooms in an assisted living facility to small school projects. Today, it does everything from $20,000 projects upward, with its biggest project so far hitting the $15,000,000 mark.

Alfred’s advice to youngsters in business is as fun as it is wise. For him, keeping stress levels in check is very important if you and your business are to reach greater heights. “I don’t look at money as dollars. I look at it as numbers,” he says.

He also quotes Rich Dad Poor Dad when it comes to the importance of doing work that has significance. According to the author, people may be successful, but they can still be insignificant. For this reason, the company targets projects with significance – jobs with some personal or greater sense of meaning in the bigger scheme of things.

This includes one’s own significance to others, like family and the community at large. Alfred particularly remembers a prayer in which he asked for his own business so that he could help other people. And that is exactly what happened. “Guess, what?” he says. “You’re successful if you have significance by the time you’re done.” Profound words indeed from a man who values substance.

Here, employees are not treated as numbers. With a president who is also a man of faith and who understands the flip-side of the coin having worked for others in the field himself, everyone is treated with respect. The company’s success comes as a result of cultivating a culture of integrity and expertise, and that is something that is not always that easy to find these days. Many of its employees have been in the industry their entire lives, and it is celebrating its longest-serving member’s twentieth year of service later this year. “We have no intention of ever claiming success at the expense of anyone,” says Alfred. Taking care of his team is paramount. The company also believes in employing union workers for the high level of skills they offer, and it is especially proud of its problem-free labor force.

Key Construction Services also has a big heart for its community, and, just as it continually contributes to the Bardavon theatre, it does the same with the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. It has sponsored the doors for the renovation of the old train station building as well as materials for the bridge that crosses the Hudson as part of the trail. These beautiful, paved trails through the forest are a wonderful, family-friendly initiative to utilize resources that would otherwise perhaps have perished under years of neglect.

The company has definitely grown with the area. Three times stronger than it was a few years ago, its growth rate is currently sitting at a comfortable annual ten percent in sales and Alfred reckons that the construction market’s upward trend will last another good five years, boding well for expansion. In fact, this president would love to see the business becoming a legacy company one day. “I’m looking at getting my successors ready. I would love to see it carry on,” he says.

Alfred’s dedication to this company is unsurpassed, and my guess is that he’ll most likely keep coming to the office long after he retires. With this being exactly the sort of passion that got Key Construction Services started in the first place, it is bound to let him experience the legacy for which he hopes. One thing is certain, however. It is this kind of family-oriented business that is the key to helping communities thrive, and it is the teamwork born of this sense of belonging and significance that helps cultivate the level of craftsmanship for which Key Construction Services has become famous.

Industry Changemakers

The construction industry has historically been slow to evolve, drawn to tradition over technology. As the industry is in a state of rapid innovation and advancement, organizations like the Toronto Construction Association (TCA) are working tirelessly to build strong member businesses that won’t fall behind.

June 18, 2019, 4:17 PM EDT