The Frattalone Scoop
1. Presidential Thoughts
To me, the approach of spring has always meant the start of a new construction year, baseball with the kids, fishing, and Harley rides. This year is no different and our workload once again looks like it will be an exciting one. With the field working until mid December last year and starting up early this spring, the mechanics in our shop worked extremely hard at getting all the equipment ready in the short amount of time they were allowed. The office has also been busy bidding jobs to get all the iron and employees back to work. Some of the new jobs are as follows:
- The Commons
- Woodbury Watertown Elementary
- Watertown Heritage Middle School
- Forest Lake Norman Pointe
- Bloomington Huset Park Phase II
- Columbia Hts.Lowes
- Oak Park Heights
Some New Equipment we have obtained for the 2006 season:
- 2 - Cat 330 Excavators, 1 -Volvo 460
- Excavator, 1 -John Deere 330
- Excavator, 1 -Cat D6RLGP Dozer,
- 1 - Cat D6RXW Six-way Dozer,
- 1 - John Deere 850J Six-way Dozer,
- 1 - Cat Challenger, 1 -Ejector Scraper
As I approach my fifth year as president of Frattalone Companies, I have been asking myself the question "What makes Frattalone Companies unique?"
There are several answers to this question, but the one that stands out to me is this:Frattalone Companies develops leaders. An article written by James C. Collins illustrates this belief: "The main difference between good companies and great companies is their ability to develop effective quality leaders. Such leaders possess, among other things, a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They work to position their successors for even greater success in the next generation. Leaders apply themselves with workmanlike diligence and can move even mediocre companies for-ward through determination, and an understanding and appreciation of the unique role they, and only they, are currently in position to play."
Our company cannot survive without these types of employees. Its success is due to the results that are achieved throughout every function within our organization. Every day, employees are asked to be put in some type of a leadership role. Some take it and succeed further than they would imagine, while others may scoff at the idea and let someone else take that responsibility on.
Are you a leader? If not, why? As we at Frattalone Companies strive to provide the best possible service to our customers and to move towards greatness, I am committed to doing so by developing highly effective leaders throughout our organization. I look forward to seeing you all this summer.
Tony Frattalone, President
2. Safety & Training Corner
I would like to extend a warm welcome to our returning employees and to our new employees. Frattalone Companies, Inc. looks forward to a productive and safe construction season. In this tight and unpredictable economy, a strong commitment to improving procedures while working safely will make this company competitive and profitable. I challenge everyone to work safer, stay healthier, and get fit this season. Not only will your quality of life improve, but you will be contributing to the company through lower insurance costs and increased production.
Thank you to all the past and present safety committee members for your dedication to improving the safety culture. The Frattalone safety committee would like to welcome our new members who have volunteered to serve two-year terms:
- Bob Bergman - shop mechanic,
- Jack Kuehn -utility crew and
- Justin Meinert - equipment operator.
The committee begins its second seasons’ goal to reduce all work related injuries by 25% per year to reach Zero injuries in the near future. Last year we achieved a 23% reduction and we look forward to a new year with fresh ideas and increased reductions. When we incur an unfortunate and hopefully minor accident or injury, it must be considered a ‘bump in the road’ while continuing to focus on our overall goals.
Already this season, we have incurred several ‘bumps in the road’ to zero injuries. The majority of our injuries have been sprains and strains to knees and ankles.
The first injury was to a superintendent on a demo job who strained a back muscle while lifting heavy material; he went to the clinic but did not have time away from work.
The next injury was to a crushing crew member. The employee, while climbing up a fixed ladder on a machine, twisted and bumped his knee against the machine causing a sprain; he went to the clinic and was placed on work restrictions.
Next, a utility crew superintendent was unloading a generator out of a loader bucket when he slipped and fell backwards into the ditch behind him; the emergency room x-rays indicated a broken leg bone so he was off work for over two months for recovery. While a truck driver was walking around his trailer, he pivoted on his leg to change direction and felt pain in his knee; He was diagnosed with a sprained knee and lost time from work and is now working with job restrictions. An operator, assisting a mechanic, was on an unsafe ladder that slipped out from under him causing him to fall; he was found to have a sprained ankle and was given time off work and work restrictions.
By participating in the company required stretching program before the work shift, and periodically throughout the day, many of these injuries may have been pre-vented. Ladder safety is also a concern and often overlooked. Always consider proper ladder use and stability. The safety committee is investigating methods to eliminate sprains and strains, in addition to our mandatory employee stretching program. Disciplinary measures may be taken when compliance is not followed.
Please remember to provide me with a copy of all the certificates attained by attending training classes. The certificates are needed for record keeping and job / work qualification lists.
Steven Kohler, Safety and Training Director
3. Harley Rides
The annual Harley ride to Duluth will be June 25th and 26th. Please contact Tony Frattalone in the office if you will be joining our group.
4. CLC Golf Tournament
The 7th Annual Central Lakes College Golf Tournament will be held on Tuesday, July 25 this year. Frattalone Companies is the main sponsor of this event which raises money for the Heavy Equipment Program at Central Lakes College, located in Staples, MN. We are looking forward to another successful tournament this year.
Sign up for the CLC Golf Tournament! (PDF, 880K)
5. A Special "Thank You". . .
Following is a letter that Frank Frattalone received and wanted to share:
Dear Mr. Frattalone,
Last August I was training to run the Twin Cities Marathon. My normal training route takes me past an area where your equipment and employees are building the roads for a new housing sub division. The site is located off of County Road 36 in Chisago City. It was a warm day and I was attempting to run 18 miles. I was not properly hydrated nor had I eaten well. At mile 15, I knew that I was not going to complete my run and I stopped running and started walking towards home. About a mile later, I knew that I could not make it home. I waved at a van that was driving past hoping that he would stop and let me use a cell phone so I could call home and have my wife pick me up. Lucky for me, the driver turned around, came back and asked if he could help. The driver was one your employees, Jeff Anderson. He lives in North Branch and was heading home. Mr. Anderson offered to take me home because he saw that I was in rough shape. I was too embarrassed to have him take me all the way home so I had him let me out and I walked the last block home. Had Mr. Anderson not stopped, I might have lost consciousness and died on the side of the road. I was severely dehydrated and it took several hours to get enough fluids in me to get my blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate back to normal. I have personally thanked Mr. Anderson and I would appreciate your company thanking him. It is quite possible that he saved my life. Frattalone Companies is known as an excellent organization and Mr. Anderson’s actions proved that Frattalone hires great employees. Please thank him for me. If your company gives awards to employees who go above and beyond the call of duty, I think Mr. Anderson is most deserving of an award of that nature. Thank you.
P.S. I completed the Twin Cities Marathon in October and the Disney Marathon in January.
6. Holiday Schedule
Listed below are the days that Frattalone Companies will be closed this year:
- Monday, 5/29/06 -- Memorial Day
- Tuesday, 7/4/06 -- Independence Day
- Monday, 9/4/06 -- Labor Day
- Thursday, 11/23/06 -- Thanksgiving Day
- Monday, 12/25/06 -- Christmas Day
7. A Word from the Estimating Department...
What is this GPS Stuff? Many of you have probably been to a job over the last few years and noticed a superintendent wandering around carrying some sort of "frisbee on a stick", stopping occasionally to push a few buttons on a calculator. Or maybe you’ve seen one of our operators finish grade a 3:1 slope with no stakes at all and wondered ‘what are those frisbee things on the dozer blade and how can they cut to grade without stakes?’ For the last four years Frattalone Companies has been one of Minnesota’s biggest users of the latest in earthmoving technology, GPS grade control.
|What is GPS and how is it used by Frattalone Companies? GPS stands for Global Positioning System and is built on a system of over 28 satel-lites in precise orbits around the earth. As these satellites orbit the earth, they transmit a signal back to earth that can be picked up by a receiver (the frisbee things). Then, through something called triangulation, the receiver can determine it’s precise location anywhere on earth, generally to within an inch.
This process has been adapted to work as hand held rover systems and GPS-guided machine systems in the construction industry. Frattalone Companies currently has nine GPS systems; 3 mounted on dozers, 1 mounted on a motorgrader, and 5 hand-held rover systems and we hope to add a few more each year. Over the last three years, Frattalone Companies has used GPS on about 50 jobs per year doing anything from staking a building pad to finish grading a landfill cell.
How are jobs set up for GPS? After we are awarded a job there are several things we do to get a site set up for GPS. First, we must get what is called a CAD file from the civil engineer on the site. This file is a computerized version of the plans that we convert into a format our GPS systems can use. Depending upon the job size, this can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. Once converted, this file shows the operator where everything on the site is and how much dirt has to be cut or filled to get the job done.
Next, we have to lock into the satellites orbiting the earth. This process is called site calibration. John Tomlyanovich, our "resident surveyor", will usually go to the site, before anything else has been done. Using the engineers control points, he will tie the converted CAD file to "real world coordinates".
Finally, all this information is tied together in our office to create a GPS file we can use in the field. This information is then either transferred to a computer "chip" for the machine systems or loaded directly onto one of our hand held rover systems.
How does Frattalone use this information in the field? In the field, Frattalone Companies uses the GPS systems in several different ways. The machine systems are hydraulically controlled and will cut a site to grade within an inch or they can be used for mass grading to see how far from grade a job is. The rover systems are a little more versatile. On any given job set up for GPS, the rovers can be used to generate instant quantities through topographic surveys or place stakes for anything from cut/fills to building corners.
For the future: The GPS technology is changing rapidly and Frattalone Companies is striving to stay ahead of the game by constantly updating/adding to our GPS equipment and employee training. The acceptance by our people in the field and the office has been a key part to the success of our GPS use. By maintaining this effort we hope to stay ahead of the competition and continue to provide our customers with a high quality product.
8. Company Meetings
Following are the dates for the all company safety and informational meetings for 2005. These meetings are a very important part of keeping you informed of company policies and procedures. Attendance is mandatory.
- Thursday, 8/3/06
- Thursday, 10/12/06
All meetings will start at 4:00 p.m.