Case Studies

Steven Goffredo – Muschlitz Excavating 

Laying the grounds for Lehigh Valley development, redevelopment 

Seen from above, it looks like a desert, but won’t be for long. It’s just that site preparation for a major project necessitates much groundbreaking and leveling, especially when a former strip mine is to be redeveloped for more benign use. That’s what Steven Goffredo and his team at Muschlitz Excavating have been doing as they proceed with the second phase of what’s known as the Rausch Creek project in Tremont, Pennsylvania. 

Steven Goffredo | Vice President | Muschlitz Excavating 

Steven Goffredo | Vice President | Muschlitz Excavating

The first phase was completed last year, with the Muschlitz crew moving over 2 million square yards of dirt, debris and rock for Amazon distribution center, which perceives this part of the region as ideal for another warehouse—Tremont having access to interstates linking it with most Eastern and Midwest metro markets. A 1.3 million-square-foot structure is now in place, and volumes of goods arrive and depart by the hour. 

“From here, you’re able to reach a third of the national population in a half-day’s drive,” Goffredo says. 

Provided, of course, that the grounds have been duly laid and Goffredo attests that his company more than acquitted itself during the first phase. But it’s still been quite an intricate project, he explains, Rausch Creek having hills and eight ravines ranging in depth from 40 to 80 feet and much of the earth needing to be blasted or crushed. 

“We crushed our own aggregate,” he tells Blueprint. “It was a very tricky site because we were filling deep ravines. We have some of the largest earthmoving equipment in the area. Teaming that with some of the most skilled people in the business allows us to move more efficiently and quicker than our competitors.” 

He means business 

Rausch Creek could become Muschlitz’s biggest project, but at least for now, that honor goes to the site prep that the company did for what became the Northampton Business Center in another Lehigh Valley community known as Northampton. Goffredo’s crew having moved over 1.5 million of mostly rock, a five-building industrial park enhances the regional economy. 

Steven Goffredo | Vice President | Muschlitz Excavating 

This project, too, stretched the limits of Goffredo’s creativity, he explaining how his workers had to drill and shoot tons of rock while working throughout the winter to stay on schedule. They also had a stream crossing that necessitated a large culvert and a road running through. Then, the surrounding roads had to be realigned and widened, all of which called for tight scheduling, which Goffredo says is one of his strengths. 

“I oversaw project management hand in hand with the superintendents on developing our weekly and biweekly schedules,” he says. “That’s scheduling all the manpower and equipment, working with project management on plan changes and design issues, and acting as the liaison between our company and the GC and owner. It was making sure everybody was in a good place.” 

Goffredo seems to have that modus operandi down to a science as he nears his 13th anniversary with Muschlitz, having joined the family-owned company as a project manager in 2011 and ascending to vice president in 2022 after buying out his former partner. He defines most of his role as being a problem solver and the rest of the time being a policy writer, and there’s much to each responsibility. 

Steven Goffredo | Vice President | Muschlitz Excavating 

Problems can’t help but arise when leveling often-times rocky and hilly grounds with no projects being identical and all procedures overseen by environmental regulators. The general contractor typically hires the company for a project costing several hundred million dollars, with Muschlitz positioned to perform the earthwork, paving, site prep and installation of utilities.       

Goffredo essentially and literally learned the business from the ground up and thinks that might give him more credibility than if he had joined Muschlitz with an engineering degree. According to him, something must be said about getting your hands dirty and boots on the ground—and having to complete a high-stakes project on first down. 

Pressure performer 

He chuckles while recalling how he did just that while still being new to the company around a decade ago when the Lehigh Valley International Airport needed a runway rebuilt, which was outside the Muschlitz norm of projects. An enterprising sort, Goffredo picked the brains of friendly counterparts at other companies, sometimes visiting them with a six-pack and hearing them out. The time frame’s short when laying asphalt, he says, and if not done right … well, reputations spread fast in any aspect of construction. 

“I was just about to marry and almost missed my own bachelor’s party,” he says. “The margin for error is a quarter-inch in runway work.” 

Steven Goffredo | Vice President | Muschlitz Excavating 

They still met the parameters, maybe with an eighth inch to spare, and since then, the projects have kept coming. Business did slow last year, what with interest rates and inflation, but Goffredo says Muschlitz rides out the downturns, and the Lehigh Valley is ripe for development and redevelopment. 

“We’re able to develop the less desirable grounds,” he says, citing the strip mines as proof. “Fifteen or 20 years ago, some of these grounds would be untouched. We take pride in tackling the ugly projects.” 

It takes skilled labor to do so, and that’s another challenge—Muschlitz hasn’t been spared the personnel shortages that affect the construction industry in general. But here’s where Goffredo’s problem-solving/policy writing acumen vindicates: he prioritizes young candidates with the right attitude and work ethic and entrusts the many veterans MEI has to teach the skills.  

“We have a great retention rate,” he says. “Many guys might leave us, but they’re back in two or three years. I attribute that to our culture. We’re family-first.” 

And sticklers for time management. The 38-year-old Goffredo himself a family man with a wife and three small children, he’s committed to leaving the office by 6 p.m. and doesn’t want anyone left behind. If necessary, they’ll return at 4:30 a.m when our families are sleeping. 

“That’s part of manning up,” he says. “You’ve got to suck it up and do so in a way that works. But I don’t want to take away from anyone’s family time.” 

That said, sometimes he sacrifices his own family time. Believing that public life needs more input from those with hands-on experience, Goffredo was elected to the Pen Argyl Borough Council last year. There’s much happening with local infrastructure, and he says he’s got something to contribute.  

It’s all part of what he says is making the most of his skills for family, company and community. Must come from the bloodlines. 

“My family has always been in construction, and I’m the fourth generation to do so,” he says. “I come from a large and prideful Italian family and feel fortunate to be making a mark. I want my last name to mean something.” 
        

    

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