CDS Mestel Construction Corp.

CDS Mestel picCDS Mestel has been in continuous operation since 1916 because it understands the needs of its clients and gives them the personal service they need.
By Eric Slack

Celebrating 100 years in business is a milestone in any industry, and CDS Mestel Construction Corp. has persevered for a century because it understands how to successfully complete commercial construction projects. Founded in 1916 in Brooklyn, the company is today headquartered in Garden City Park, N.Y. and provides preconstruction, design/build, construction management and general contracting services.

“Our longevity speaks for itself,” President Ned Rothberg says. “We’ve been able to transpire in this environment because we know that we are only as good as the people in the company and the partners we work with.”

Building Ties

Today, CDS Mestel primarily does general contracting work in Long Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The company has the ability to handle its own millwork installation and has its own crews take care of drywall and carpentry. The company does a lot of work in airport environments, and it also does a lot of retail, office and restaurant projects in its commercial portfolio. CDS Mestel box

“We’ve been working in the airports for many years because of the ongoing construction of retail facilities in airports,” Rothberg says. “That is how we have gotten into that market and we’ve built our reputation mainly by word of mouth. After 9/11, the environment became more difficult with extra layers of security, but we understand how to get clearance and work through procedures in getting materials into sites and assisting subcontractors through the vetting process to be cleared by security. We are sensitive to the security processes and make sure that we keep tight records of what is brought in and brought out. Our reputation since 9/11 has us established as one of the chosen selected contractors that are approved to work in those kinds of environment.”

CDS Mestel prides itself on providing service to clients that doesn’t involve extensive management layers. The company’s management is closely involved in the construction process.

“We have a director of construction who facilitates much of the coordination in our projects, and all projects get my attention as well,” Rothberg says. “Feedback from customers tells us that our customers feel like they are our only client because of the attention they get from us.”

Because the company can handle all aspects of general contracting in environment such as offices, airports, retail and restaurants, it has been able to build ties within various sectors of construction. This is helpful, as the company has found itself working with many clients on multiple occasions. This includes coming back to work on facilities where it has already worked when it is time for those facilities to be updated.

“Part of our longevity stems from our ability to never forget where we came from,” Rothberg says. “We treat all of our clients well because we believe that although not every job is a big job, you always have to be willing to do whatever is required for your clients. Whatever they need, we always have to be there to do what is needed for our clients. They have landlords to answer to and they have to maintain their reputations as a good business through exceptional projects.”

Able to Adapt

One of the biggest priorities that CDS Mestel feels it must focus on as a company is the changing nature of the modern workforce. Many people coming in to the business may not be as experienced or skilled, while older workers in the field may not be tech savvy. The company feels it is important to have junior and senior people working together so each side can learn from the other. Project management may be more technological today, but CDS Mestel knows projects still require hands-on skillsets.

“Even with all the automation in the world, you still have to be able to put up a wall,” Rothberg says. “You need a labor force, not just technology. We are a union organization with a skilled workforce. This presents a dilemma in an industry where things change on a daily basis on projects within their schedules and critical paths.”

Younger people with little experience may not be as comfortable working in traditional interactive manners. CDS Mestel wants to maintain the personal nature of its business, but it also knows it has to interact with people in modern fashions. That is why the company is embracing tools such as social media and other platforms to keep its name relevant.

“That will help us find people who are looking for a great place to work,” Rothberg says. “We’ve been doing this for decades, and it takes a lot of time to gain experience in this industry. But we also need youth along with experience, putting those things together so we have fresh ideas along with experience in the field. People need to possess skills to work in the field and technological skills for project management and leadership.”

Although much has changed in recent times, CDS Mestel has always demonstrated an ability to change with the times. The company has much to be proud of, and it is also very optimistic about the future.

“This is an art to doing the kinds of projects we do, particularly at the airports,” Rothberg says. “There are many procedures involved, and we are pretty good at getting projects completed quickly and ensuring projects that will last.”

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