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September 29, 2020

Gilroy’s concrete company rarely does business in Gilroy

On another hot Thursday morning, Don Alvarez, Sr., the owner of Noah Concrete, could have been sitting cool in his office on Rossi Lane. Instead, he was out overseeing the concrete pouring work on a large scale Costco project in South San Francisco. The concrete business is hard work.
Alvarez Sr, 62, founded Noah Concrete in 1996 in San Jose, then in 2000 moved the company to Gilroy. With more than 77 employees, Noah Concrete expects to buy $7 million in concrete from its suppliers this upcoming year. The company focuses only on large scale projects such as the Alexander Station Apartments with a fleet of truck tractors, cement dumpers, rollers, and cement pumps. It does commercial, residential and government projects.
However, other than the new Alexander complex, work in Gilroy has been rare.
“In seven years of bidding for jobs in Gilroy, I never got a single job in Gilroy except for that job,” said Eugene Pacchetti, Senior Estimator at Noah Concrete. “We laugh about it. We get jobs in Walnut Creek, Lafayette and Daly City, but nothing here. We’ve doing some pretty big stuff — just not in Gilroy.”
Pacchetti said he doesn’t know why they can’t crack the market in their hometown.
Competing to offer the best bid on a job, where the consumers must weigh costs as well of the quality of work means tight competition within the industry. Despite the permanent nature of concrete, business must move fast.
“We say, ‘When we move onto a job, we know we got it,’” Pacchetti, 76, said. “When you bid private work, someone can offer a better price months after we’ve successfully bid on a job.”
It’s a tough industry, but Noah Concrete’s gross sales are expected to be higher than $19 million this year.
“We bid jobs the way we’re going to build it,” Pacchetti said, who bids project to include all phases of the job, when determining unit cost.
Given the distance between jobs, Noah Concrete incurs significant fuel costs. When gas prices hovered over $3.50 a gallon, they spent $22,000 a week. With jobs as far as South San Francisco, Daly City, Coloma, Salinas, Hayward, and Danville, they keep their equipment fueled with a swarm of refueling trucks delivering diesel fuel.
“With traffic the way it is, it takes too long for our guys to get where they need to go,” Pacchetti said. “For the job, we did in Lafayette, our guys would come in by 5 a.m. to be on the job by 7 a.m.”
Alvarez, Sr. and Pacchetti, who have nearly 100 years of combined experience, have worked together with another concrete company nearly three decades ago. With deep industrial roots, word travels fast.
“It’s a very well connected business and I tell contractors; ‘if you don’t think we talk, you’re mistaken,’” Pacchetti said. “Sometimes a company will call and say that someone else is way cheaper than us. We chat with each other and often find out that they’re playing us against each other.”
Noah Concrete is not insured to pour concrete for single family homes, but rather concentrates on large-scale projects.
“When you have a single family residence there’s an issue of longevity of claims,” Pacchetti said. “Basically, it never ends. The statute of limitations on a house does not start until someone finds an issue.”

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