Montana Construction Completes Twenty Years in Construction

(from UTCA Magazine, April 2013)

In 1993, Vincent Santaite founded Montana Construction with the assistance of his father Dominic Santaite, Sr., the latter whom had many years of experience in the construction industry. Vincent had spent his summers learning the industry from his father prior to starting Montana Construction. The first contract for the firm was the emergency repair of manholes and catch basins in Fort Lee. Working from a home office, the young firm then completed a $75,000 sanitary sewer installation in Jersey City. At this time, Montana was able to rent a facility in Hackensack to store its equipment.

In 1994, Vincent’s sister Lisa joined the firm to handle office operations while Vincent focused on the work in the field. Construction in these early years of the firm included several pumping stations, sanitary sewer and drainage projects in Little Ferry, Ridgefield Park, Guttenberg, Verona, Clifton and North Bergen. The company also began to perform emergency contracts in North Jersey. The emergency utility work continues to today as the firm currently has a 24 hour operation with crews on stand-by. Dominic Santaite, Jr. joined his siblings in 1999 to supervise the firm’s largest contract at the time, a $1.4 million sewer contract with the Montville MUA. Dominic, Jr. continues to serve as Director of Operations for the firm.

Lisa Santaite was named the firm’s President in 2000 and the continued growth of the family business allowed for the purchase of a property in Lodi. This property consists of offices, an equipment yard and warehouse. The building was renovated in 2007 and was expanded in 2012 to accommodate the additional needs of the firm.

In the early years, most of the construction was completed in North Jersey. At the turn of the century, the company began to perform work in other geographical areas. An interceptor sewer project was completed in Sayreville and two water main contracts were completed in the Village of Monroe, New York. Additional work that followed included a pump station in Matawan and replacement of a water main for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority at Interchange 14C.

Montana successfully completed the installation of the Spring Valley Road Sewer in Clarkstown and Spring Valley, New York. This $4.9 million project for the Rockland County Sewer District No. 1 included pipe installation up to 24 inches in diameter. Following this project, Montana completed a $3.5 million sewer separation project for the Town of Kearny, a $4.5 million sanitary sewer system rehabilitation for the Southern Monmouth Regional Sewerage Authority, and a $2.7 million storm water improvements contract in North Bergen.

In 2007, the company completed a $4 million force main project in Orangetown, New York in which the crew performed the boring and jacking of pipe. This added a new facet to Montana’s capabilities. The firm continued to diversify with the completion of a $5.5 million landfill project for the Bergen County Improvements Authority. This project included excavations up to 35 feet deep for the installation of 10,000 feet of leachate pipe to convey the flow to the Bergen County Utilities Authority for treatment. This project also included construction of a pump station, gravity sewer and storm sewer.

The contractor then completed an $11 million interceptor installation for the Bergen County UA. This contract included installation of approximately two miles of pipe in diameters ranging from between 66 inches and 72 inches. Montana completed this project in eight months. Some of the recent work performed by Montana Construction includes a $20 million flood control project for the US Army Corp of Engineers in Green Brook. This project represents the largest project to date for the firm and included the completion of a flood wall, pump station, levee and bridge. Another recent project is a $5 million drainage and road reconstruction project in Clarkstown, New York, a $6.5 million water main project in Newark, which involved the installation of 25,000 feet of pipe, and an $8 million contract for installation of 50,000 feet of water main in Lyndhurst. Another interesting project is the rehabilitation project of the Cedar Grove reservoir. This project required the contractor to drain the reservoir, and install new 60 inch steel pipe, as well as rehabilitate two large concrete conduits which measured seven feet in diameter. Also included was installation of a new valve chamber and modification of the building and instrument control for this 108 year old structure.Montana also performed a sewer modification project for the Joint Meeting of Essex and Union Counties following flooding from hurricane Irene in 2011. Another project, that is part of the “go green” initiative, is a job in Belmar in which methane from an existing pump station is utilized to power the treatment plant. Some of the key people who have contributed to the firm’s success include Manny Rodriguez, an operator who has been with the firm since its early days, Michael Mariano, who serves as operations coordinator and is a first cousin to the owners, Jennifer Kenny, a cousin and also Michael Mariano’s sister who is an office administrator and Scott Houlihan, general superintendent.

In recent years, Montana has enlisted the services of three very well-known construction veterans. Armando Vequez is a consultant to the firm, Roger Setya serves as chief engineer and Bob Hopken is the company’s estimator.

Montana Construction is a family business that began as a North Jersey pipe contractor. The firm now has the capabilities to complete road, bridge, tunneling and landfill type projects. In the past few years, Lisa, Vincent and Dominic, Jr. were joined by two additional family members as well. Their sister Amanda Santaite is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University and is currently the receptionist for the firm, while another sister, Theresa DeMarco serves as an administrative assistant. This firm is well positioned for future success.