Business View Magazine interviews Steve D’Angelo, VP of Clearsite Industrial, as part of our focus on the underground excavation industry.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, New Jersey, Clearsite Industrial is a company of vacuum excavation innovators. Its leaders are nationally-recognized, subject-matter experts and early adopters of the technology, which has been used around the world for more than 30 years, but is still relatively new in the United States.
Clearsite’s services include utility locating, air excavation, potholing, slot trenching and tunneling, and utility pole and piling holes. Its seasoned operators can also excavate service pits, provide anode and gas service installation, address water main breaks, perform fiber optic trenching and more. With current locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, the company serves utilities, commercial contractors, nuclear facilities, transportation and rail, water and sewer, and the oil and gas industries up and down the East Coast.
“The company was formed in August 2018,” recounts Vice President, Steve D’Angelo. “It was put together by Lou Galasso and me. Lou and I had worked together at a prior company that Lou owned. One of the divisions we had at that company was vacuum excavation, which I oversaw. After his retirement, he was eager to stay busy. He always liked this technology. So, he had the vision to start another company, predominantly focusing on the vacuum excavation technology, knowing how prevalent it had become in the industry over the last five to ten years. We partnered to form Clearsite. The vision was to be a strategic partner with our client base and also create a company with a culture of inclusivity that would encourage the personnel to feel invested in the company and its success.”
D’Angelo notes that the majority of Clearsite’s work has been the locating of utilities for its clients, which consists mostly of general contractors involved in the oil and gas sector.
“We do the locates to give the contractor visual confirmation of where the utility is so they don’t cross-bore through it,” he explains. “Other times, there are congested intersections where it’s just too risky to use mechanical methods, so we are brought in to excavate around those utilities. I would say a request usually begins with the locating part of the business, but then we get spread out pretty evenly across all of the different services we offer – whether it’s general excavation, doing utility poles, doing anodes, exposing pipelines for inspections; it does spread out pretty evenly over all of the applications that we provide.”
Regarding the competition in the sector, D’Angelo says that it is increasing on a daily basis. “There are companies like Clearsite that have seen the opportunity in the market to provide the services that we do, and new ones are forming almost every day,” he shares. “Another factor that comes into play for us are the contractors we work for. Some of them have gone out and bought their own units, and some already had them. So, there’s a wide range of competition out there, and it’s getting to be a pretty congested market.”
That being said, D’Angelo believes that Clearsite has several distinct advantages over its competitors.
“The first is our relationships,” he states. “I’ve been in this particular business for close to 20 years, and our owner, Lou Galasso, has been in the industrial construction industry since the early 1980s. So, between the two of us, we have extensive contacts and relationships throughout the industry and have built a reputation where people value our service. That’s a big factor. Long-standing clients have been key to our success.
“We also have generated a culture where our employees are paramount to our success,” he continues. “We rely very heavily on our employees for the work they do and the ideas that they bring to us. We value everyone of them and what they bring to the process – we’re all on the same team. There’s no pyramid. Our third major advantage is Lou and I are involved, every day, with our customer base, and with our employees, making sure we are doing our part to help one another’s success. We don’t sit in offices throughout the day; we’re usually out on the road and we all are working to help each other succeed. Everyone in our company has everyone else’s cell phone number. Our operators are not shy, at any point, to call Lou or me on the phone and talk with us. That’s how hands on we all are.”
Another key to Clearsite’s success is its relationships with its own suppliers. D’Angelo remarks, “When you’re buying your equipment, or you need to supplement your current resources, your relationships with the equipment manufacturers or the rental houses are extremely important because you need them to get you what you need when you need it. Usually that is an 11th hour revelation. So, having good relationships with your providers helps you to be able to draw that equipment at a moment’s notice. So, equipment is a big part of it – how we buy our equipment and when we need to supplement our resources.”
Going forward, D’Angelo says that the company is considering adding some additional services to its portfolio. “The five-year plan for Clearsite was to concentrate on the vacuum excavation part of our business,” he reports. “But through our experience and our relationships, we have clients coming to us asking us to add additional services to what we are currently doing. We get calls, often, in conjunction with the locate work we’re doing. A lot of times, when gas companies or directional drill contractors complete their work, they need to televise the pipe they’ve worked on. So, we are looking into, perhaps, some camera trucks to complement that service. Also, we get calls, now and then, to do some sewer cleanouts; maybe a little bit of line-jetting here and there. They’re all lines of work that we’ve done in the past and we’re familiar with, so we are starting to explore some of those opportunities to make sure they’re right for our business and the direction we want to go.”
Meanwhile D’Angelo says that Clearsite will continue providing great service to its customers. “I know that sounds like buzz words,” he says. “Everyone wants to provide great service, or at least, think they do. But we have made it our core value to do so – great service at a market-fair price. We do not look to retire off of one job. We want to acquire our customers and be a strategic partner with them for as long as they’re in business. We want to be an integral part of their daily work process.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHAT: An underground excavation company
WHERE: Tampa, FL
Super Products LLC – www.superproductsllc.com
Super Products, an Alamo Group Company, is a leading manufacturer of vacuum trucks for a wide variety of applications. A network of sales representatives sells directly to contractors and to dealers for municipalities, while the stores offer short and long term rentals, along with parts and service centers for repairs and maintenance.