Allto Construction has built a name for itself through diversified jobsites and skill sets
Throughout its more than five decades in business, Allto Construction’s ability to operate as a family business, where everyone wears multiple hats, has been key to its success.
No project is too big or too small for the Orangeville, Ontario-based contractor.
Allto jobsites range from digging a small pad for a shed’s foundation, to septic tank repair, to the earthworks for a large-scale warehouse.
“It’s really a variety. It’s not really one thing. It’s not like we’re always on big sites. We’re everywhere in all different ways,” said Nick Acchione, operations manager for Allto. “Every day, things are changing.”
The larger contract jobs account for about 40 per cent of Allto’s work, while sewer and septic tank jobsites make up about 20 per cent of the workload. Outside of earthmoving, Allto operates a concrete and asphalt recycling yard, offers topsoil screening and equipment rentals, and takes on snow removal contracts in the winter.
“We probably have 10 or 12 machines out with plows pushing snow. We do quite a bit of snow removal for the school board,” Acchione said.
Allto Construction’s 50th anniversary
Last year, Allto celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the company attributes part of its success to its ability to tackle a diverse workload.
Allto Construction was created in November of 1969 by Nick’s uncle Larry Acchione.
“He always said he clearly had no clue, because who starts a construction company in November?” Acchione said with a laugh.
Equipped with a Case 580 backhoe, Larry Acchione started the company by taking jobs digging basements and utility lines. Today, the company has grown to employ about 45 people.
“He can remember the day he could afford to put a cab on his backhoe. He was so excited. He didn’t have to get rained on all day long,” Acchione said.
Now, 51 years later, Larry Acchione is still on the job, and his willingness to still get his hands dirty serves as motivation for the staff. Acchione explained he uses his uncle as an example to new hires who may not want to leave their cab.
“The owner of the company will go out and take lids off of septic tanks to figure out what’s going on, so we can schedule a repair,” Acchione said. “You can be darn sure you have to pick up a broom or a shovel or a grease gun. Your job doesn’t stop at sitting in the seat of an excavator.”
Like its jobsites, a versatile and diverse workforce is key for Allto Construction.
“I think it keeps you sharper than if you’re always just the dump truck man or always the loader man,” Acchione said.
He added that Allto’s diverse skill sets enables their ability to tackle multiple types of jobs.
“I’m always impressed by these guys. Whether we’re doing a water main connection or dropping in a septic tank, our guys are very diverse in what they’re capable of,” Acchione said. “They can be in an excavator today and a loader tomorrow. A lot of them can then hop on the dump truck or the float.
Close to home
By maintaining a wide scope of work and a talented workforce, Allto is able to maintain a steady workload within south central Ontario. Eliminating a lengthy commute, helps provide a better quality of life for Allto’s staff.
“If all we did was the big commercial stuff we’d have to travel sometimes,” Acchione said.
“That means people are staying in hotels Monday to Friday, and only get to go home on the weekends, if they’re lucky.”
Acchione believes that quality of life is why many of Allto’s employees stay with the company throughout their career. Some of the workforce has been with Allto for as long as 40 years.
“They can get home at night and can actually have dinner with their family and be there to raise their kids,” he said. “That’s one of the big pluses here.”
Fleet additions at Allto
Allto has about 55 machines in its fleet, including earthmoving equipment, triaxles as well as vacuum and pump trucks.
“We’re trying to move more towards machines with technology,” Acchione said.
“When we get to a site, our guy can hop in the machine, set up his laser and get digging. He doesn’t need a guy there with a grade rod, which is an expense to the company and a potential liability.”
He noted the adaption of technologies does come with some of the clichés attributed to younger employees adapting more quickly to new methods. However, construction veterans are willing to learn new skill sets too.
“They like it, they want to learn it and understand it,” he said. “It’s not like it’s just the young guys that are adapting to it.”
Recently, Allto also purchased a Cat 310 mini excavator to tackle sewer and water main repairs. The 10 tonne machine fills a gap between 5-tonne and 16-tonne machines in Allto’s excavator fleet.
“The machine is big enough to dig a big hole, but we can still fit it in some of these smaller front yards or under trees,” Acchione said. “It’s smaller, but can still easily load a triaxle.”
Although their recent additions are both Caterpillar, Acchione said the fleet includes machines from several manufacturers.
“I think all the machines, for myself, are pretty darn good these days. They’re running 5,000, 6,000 7,000-plus hours without any major component replacement,” he said. “You can take them even beyond that. The reliability now is unreal.”
If a machine does break down, Allto has its own shop, heavy equipment technician and service truck to help reduce downtime.
“If something goes wrong, it’s not too often we can’t get it back up and running, or get another machine on the float, get it on site and go back to work,” Acchione said.
Having its own float truck is another advantage, and it allows Allto to respond to emergency situations 24/7.
“We’ve sent out our 35-tonne excavator in the middle of the night to help the fire department,” Acchione said.
“I don’t think there’s too many contractors that can have an excavator on a float and on its way to a site within an hour.”