Luis Torrado’s commitment to his community is apparent in practically all of the projects his company, Torrado Construction, performs. “Building projects in urban neighborhoods that improve the quality of life for residents is very important to us,” he says.
The Philadelphia-based company has in recent years completed pools, parks, a Boys and Girls Club and other public facilities. Torrado also personally works as a mentor to high school students interested in building trades and donates to organizations including the Salvation Army.
Torrado’s sense of community responsibility comes from his parents, who came to the United States from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and established roots in a closely knit Philadelphia neighborhood. The work ethic Torrado’s parents instilled in him also has guided him in his journey in the industry from being a draftsman in high school to starting his own company.
“I came up from the ground up and worked my way through the system,” says Torrado, who attended Community College of Philadelphia, Temple University and Drexel University while working for several contractors.
Torrado’s industry education continues even today, as he graduated this year from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which is designed to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth.
Torrado Construction has significantly grown since Luis Torrado started the company in 1995 in his parents’ home. The company today offers general contracting services as well as specialty trade work including concrete and masonry, painting and wall covering, carpentry and selective removal services.
The majority of the company’s work is as a subcontractor, as it is a designated Minority Business Enterprise/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MBE/DBE) working in the public sector. The company is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Torrado Construction is a member of several associations including the General Building Contractors Association, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, The Associated General Contractors of America, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Minority Contractors.
Torrado Construction’s belief in building strong communities extends to the relationships it has with the general contractors it works with and the clients it works for. “The relationships we’ve built are where we truly stand out,” he says.
The company’s relationships and positive reputation are a result of the quality of its work. “We’re competitive in our pricing and in the quality of our workmanship and we’re reliable,” Torrado adds. “We’re there when we tell someone we’re going to be there, and we finish our jobs when we say we’re going to.
“Contractors understand that my word is gold, and that I’m going to deliver a project on time and on budget.”
Torrado is personally involved in many of the company’s projects both in the field and in the front office. “I have my hands in all aspects of the business,” he says.
Torrado Construction is applying its expertise to several community-oriented projects in Philadelphia. The company is performing the masonry and stonework at Dilworth Park at Philadelphia City Hall. The park is being renovated from a multilevel, inaccessible, hard-surface plaza into a sustainable, green public space that can be easily accessed from the street.
The park will include a lawn, tree groves, a programmable fountain and space for 400 benches and chairs. The plaza will also include entrances and elevators to subways and trolley lines, making them more accessible. The project is anticipated to conclude this fall.
Torrado Construction this summer anticipates finishing masonry and painting work on Penn State University’s Consortium for Building Innovation, formerly known as the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub. The project includes retrofitting a 38,000-square-foot building at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, which closed in 1996, and building a new 25,200-square-foot building.
The buildings will facilitate public education and outreach on matters related to building efficiency, the university says.
Torrado Construction’s work will conclude in September on Cathedral Tower, a residential development at 38th and Chestnut streets adjacent to the Episcopal Cathedral Office Building & Residential Tower of Philadelphia. Torrado is performing the masonry work on that project.
The company’s recently completed projects include concrete and painting work on the ICON Building, a project that involves converting a historic, 25-story Art Deco office tower in Philadelphia into apartment units.
In addition to its recent construction projects, Torrado Construction in 2014 signed a three-year term contract to provide painting services to the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Per the agreement, the company will paint thousands of the authority’s rental properties, Torrado says.
The painting contract is just one of what Torrado anticipates to be several diversification efforts for the company. Torrado also recently signed a deal to distribute a concrete additive product.
“I see the company in the future as becoming increasingly multifaceted and offering a lot of different construction products,” Torrado says.