Engineered Devices Corp.
Engineered Devices Corporation says it serves high-rise construction in New York City better than its competitors.
By Chris Petersen
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a leader in the New York metropolitan market, and for more than 35 years Engineered Devices Corporation (EDC) has brought exactly that to one of the world’s most competitive construction markets. Despite the intense competition, however, EDC nevertheless has grown into one of the market’s leading suppliers and producers of shoring and building products for the reinforced concrete high-rise contractor population in the greater New York City market. Founder and co-owner Antonio Limbardo credits the company’s long history of success to its depth of services, its proprietary products and highly responsive service.
Limbardo started EDC in 1980 as the successor to an earlier well-established firm in New York City. As of today, EDC has three main divisions: shoring and forming products, rebar & custom fabrication services and wholesale distribution of products from a variety of leading manufacturers. Although the company’s competitors in the New York City market typically are much larger than EDC, Limbardo says EDC is more than a match for them.
“I would say the majority of our competitors are larger firms, mostly European companies with U.S. satellites,” Limbardo says. “The difference between EDC and our competitors – even though we are a smaller entity – is that we are involved in a myriad of products and services that almost fill the entire spectrum of high-rise concrete construction, whereas our competitors are usually focused on one or two of those elements.”
As the market continues to be highly competitive and the industry continues to change at a breakneck pace, EDC is confident that the qualities and values that have made it a leader in New York City will continue to make it a leader well into the future.
Chief among the company’s strengths is the fact that EDC is a family company. Limbardo says that in addition to himself as a third-generation company leader, the fourth generation of family leadership includes Chris Limbardo running operations, Greg Limbardo managing sales and Michelle Limbardo taking care of the office and human resources. “Long gone are the days when EDC could be run from the seat of our pants or the pain in our gut,” Antonio Limbardo says. “We are a different company than in 1980 and it takes a team, and that’s what we have.”
All in One
According to Limbardo’s son and co-owner Anthony Limbardo, the fact that EDC has so many capabilities already puts it at an advantage over many of the competitors it faces in the marketplace. Because EDC provides its own shoring and forming products and rebar as well as distributing products from other manufacturers, its can be a true one-stop shop for its customers. The company was the only one in the city to be involved in every project on the former World Trade Center site, for example.
“I don’t think you’ll find another company in the area that does all three types of products or services for our customer base,” Anthony Limbardo says, adding that EDC also is the area’s largest provider of rebar threading services.
Antonio Limbardo says the depth and breadth of EDC’s services mean the company generally has no trouble winning the more difficult and challenging aspects of jobs, but typically is outbid on the simpler parts of those same jobs. Rather than be upset about that, he says, the company takes it as proof that it occupies a unique position in the marketplace. “If the other guys could do it, they’d be in there against us, and they hardly ever are,” Limbardo says.
Anthony Limbardo says that in addition to the standard products EDC provides, it also specializes in custom requests for customers, adding to the company’s reputation for being responsive to customers’ needs. “We’ve built the business by doing what other people don’t want to do,” he says.
EDC’s willingness to take on complicated custom work is part and parcel of the company’s service philosophy, which Antonio Limbardo says is due to the tight family atmosphere created by his sons’ involvement in the company. “There’s no other firm in the city that reacts the way my sons react to customer needs and customer emergencies,” he says.
Customers can call EDC at 3 p.m. with a request for specialty items and have their requests fulfilled by the next morning, something that very few of its competitors can promise. “We support our customers’ field services like no other firm in this city,” Antonio Limbardo says. “We’re not the cheapest, but we’re the best in terms of service.”
Among the biggest challenges facing EDC in New York City is the rapid-fire pace of work in the market. Unlike contractors, which can control the pace of their schedules to a degree, EDC needs to keep up with its customers’ requirements no matter how demanding they might be. With the company servicing as many as 200 different job sites at the same time, being able to keep pace with the amount of work going on can be a real challenge.
Fortunately, however, Anthony Limbardo says EDC has dedicated itself to keeping up with its customers through continuous improvement. “We tend to continue to invest in the company,” he says. “Back in the 1980s we were a 12-person organization with about five or six people in the yard. We have 40-plus in the yard right now.
“Whatever profits we make, we funnel back into the company,” he adds.
Another more recent change has been the introduction of several European concrete construction methodologies to the United States Antonio Limbardo says these systems have kept EDC on its toes as it works to adapt its products and offerings to those systems. Although these systems are purportedly more efficient, he says, they can quickly become more complicated for contractors, which ultimately bodes well for EDC. “In the end, most contractors revert back to what are the traditional high-rise modalities, and that’s where we excel,” Limbardo says.
Looking ahead, Anthony Limbardo says EDC’s relatively flat structure and close family atmosphere will be the key to continued success in a fast-moving market like New York City. “When a call comes in, we jump on it right away and we’re not looking to get authorization from multiple levels,” he says.
“It’s never steady, it’s always up and down,” he adds. “We just need to continue to react quickly to the market conditions.”