In the months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Eastern Seaboard, residents looked for hope that their lives would return to normal. It was contractors like Bayport, N.Y.’s Lipsky Enterprises that made that possible.
The destruction at the residence of William and Betty Younkins was like that of many homes in the New York area. The structure was badly damaged from flooding and needed to be lifted to guard against future hurricanes. But the project presented an extra challenge due to the couples’ age. The Younkins are an elderly couple and required additional considerations for handicapped access.
“How do you raise a house when the occupants are physically challenged?” asks Joe Aiello, project manager for Lipsky Enterprises. To meet the couple’s requirements, Lipsky Enterprises installed an elevator in the home to reach the new first floor height and made each room handicapped accessible.
Even though it was a small project for Lipsky Enterprises, it was an important one for the Younkins family. “It was really clear you cared about this job and that meant a lot to us,” the couple’s son, Ronald Younkins, told the project team during a filmed ribbon-cutting ceremony at the home.
The Younkins home is just one of many recovery projects Lipsky Enterprises has been involved with since Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012. While much has been written about the hurricane’s devastation, the team at Lipsky Enterprises shows there are success stories, too.
Three Generations of Growth
Lipsky Enterprises provides general contractor, construction management and general carpentry services. The company was founded by Herbert Lipsky more than 50 years ago and is today led by brothers Barry and Eric Lipsky. Through those two generations of family ownership, Lipsky Enterprises grew from a small Levittown, N.Y., carpentry outfit to one of the top general contractors in the state of New York.
“We’re very diversified after being in business for over 50 years,” President Barry Lipsky says. “[Diversification] allows us to do several types of construction projects very well and therefore stay busy even during the recession time periods.”
As the company has adapted over the years, Lipsky Enterprises has succeeded by remaining consistent in its focus on listening and responding to and collaborating with associates, clients and peers while developing long-lasting relationships, Lipsky says. Historically, the company has worked in commercial and school construction, but in the past five years it expanded its market by completing several high-end residential projects in the Hamptons. In addition to its construction work, Lipsky Enterprises is also the go-to installer for Marin Windows and Doors on Long Island, Lipsky adds.
Depending on the needs of a project, Lipsky Enterprises uses a mix of self-performed work and outside subcontractors. Lipsky Enterprise employees handle most of the carpentry disciplines in-house. For other aspects of a project, the company relies on subcontractors. It prefers to work with the same subs on each job and utilizes local trade businesses whenever possible.
Lipsky Enterprises has managed a range of buildings, but a few high-profile projects have earned the company accolades in recent years. In 2011, Lipsky Enterprises received the Jeffrey J. Zogg Build New York Award for its work on the St. Charles Resurrection Cemetery Welcoming and Information Center in East Farmingdale, N.Y.
But much of Lipsky Enterprises’ focus during the past three years has been on helping out families like the Younkins. Following Hurricane Sandy, Lipsky Enterprises became an approved contractor for recovery programs, which has made up about half the company’s workload. “That generated a tremendous volume of reconstruction work, especially on Long Island where we live,” Lipsky says.
Already, the company has worked on more than 500 homes from New York City to the east end of Long Island. Lipsky says those recovery projects are about more than simply restoring the homes: it’s about getting emergency heat, hot water and electric working for the residents.
Preparing for the Future
With the help of the next generation of the Lipsky family, Lipsky Enterprises is investing in new technology to ensure the company continues to write its own success story. Barry Lipsky’s sons, Alex and Joel Lipsky, have brought the most up-to-date computer applications to the company, such as 3-D modeling program Revit, building information modeling software and cloud-based storage. “It just helps us in the coordination of construction documents that meets the top standards of the year 2016 and going forward,” Lipsky says.
The better coordination afforded by the new software has enabled Lipsky Enterprises to seek out larger and more complicated projects, such as the restoration of the historic Nathaniel Rogers House in Bridgehampton, N.Y. “It allows us to work more closely with the architects and other designers,” Lipsky says.
Despite its technological investments and growing portfolio, Lipsky still considers building relationships to be its most important project. To meet its standards, the company works to develop complete trust in all of its business relationships. Many of its jobs come through recommendations from local architects such as Roger Smith of BBS Architects & Engineers of Long Island. “We’ve been working with him now for exactly 30 years,” Lipsky says.
Lipsky credits his company’s success in building long-term relationships to the continuity of family ownership. His two sons represent the next generation of the company. Alex and Joel Lipsky have worked for some of the largest general contractors in the United States and are bringing what they’ve learned to Lipsky Enterprises.
The brothers have elevated the company’s skill level, enabling Lipsky Enterprises to enter new markets and hire more employees. “With Joel and Alex fully on board with us now, we’re able to expand the company,” Barry Lipsky says.