Iacoboni has a long and rich history dating back three generations in the Maryland construction industry. This well known and respected name got its start in 1923, when Camillo Iacoboni, an Italian immigrant from the town of Teramo in the province of Abruzzi, started his own construction business. Born in 1897, he had come from Italy in 1913 at the age of sixteen with few prospects but found work as a laborer in the construction industry. Unable to speak the new language, which proved to be such a limiting barrier to so many in similar circumstances, Camillo soon realized the urgent need to learn English as well as to master his new trade. He learned both quickly and was soon rewarded. Camillo was promoted to Foreman because of his trade skills and his ability to communicate with the many other Italian immigrants who had gravitated towards the construction trade. This also exposed him to a wider range of work experiences expanding his knowledge of his new trade.
After a number of years and acquired experience, the entrepreneurial spirit touched him. Camillo felt that he could better himself by starting his own business. He was ready to set out on his own. He began by installing water and sewer house connections for a few developers in the Baltimore area.
The company began before the advent of machinery and was essentially a pick and shovel business. In the beginning, it was a sweat and blisters operation. Camillo worked for private developers and hired other Italian immigrants who had been discriminated against and who also could not initially speak the language. Again his communication skills served him well. The company grew through the years, some of which were obviously rough and difficult. His wife Anna did the paperwork, the contracts and payroll, while Camillo and his crews did the field work. The company prospered and eventually in 1956, the business was incorporated as Camillo Iacoboni and Sons, Inc.
Camillo passed away in 1976. He worked and was active in the business until his death. At that time his two sons, Anthony and Thomas took full control of the company.
In 1983, the two brothers decided amicably to split the business into two separate companies. They dissolved the parent company and with the same entrepreneurial spirit that touched their father, formed two new companies. They did the same type of work and competed against each other. Anthony started his own company, Anthony Iacoboni and Sons, Inc. After a few years in business, he retired and sold his company. Thomas C., along with his son Thomas J. and son-in-law, Bill Francik started Thomas C. Iacoboni and Sons, Inc.
Thomas J. Iacoboni first began working for the company in his early teens, getting calloused hands during the summers and after school. Bill entered into the business after his marriage into the family. Thomas J. continued his part-time work for the company until he graduated from Loyola College in 1982 with a degree in Business Administration. He then went to work full-time in his father’s business, the only business he says he knows and loves. Tom and Bill took the same path in the company and became partners with Thomas C. in 1983. Thomas C. remained the majority stockholder while both Thomas J. and Bill were minority stockholders.
1991 was a pivotal year for Thomas J. Iacoboni. It was the middle of a recession, and the construction industry was being particularly hard hit.
For a number of reasons, including the recession and his desire to slow down, the senior Iacoboni decided it was an opportune time to retire. He sold all of the equipment of Thomas C. Iacoboni & Sons at auction.
Thomas J. Iacoboni took this as an opportunity to start his own firm. It was not easy! Bonding and financial assistance in the form of equipment loans and a line of credit were essential. Even though he had been in the business for 8 years, as far as banks were concerned, this was a new business with few assets. No one would loan to him at favorable terms.
After a number of rejection letters from various banks, Tom was able to secure a Small Business Administration loan at First National Bank of Maryland (now M & T Bank). His bonding agent, HMS, was able to obtain bonding from Reliance Insurance. This provided the new company with the ability to operate until such time as receivables for work performed were collected. Iacoboni Site Specialists, Inc., started operating on October 24, 1991. Bill Francik accepted a position of Vice President of the new company. Bob Francik, Bill’s brother and former employee of Thomas C. Iacoboni and Sons, accepted the position of Secretary/Treasurer.
The company started operations with about a dozen employees which included two full sized utility crews and one small rubber tire crew. Work was very hard to come by and competition was fierce for what little work was available. Tom’s father helped out by allowing the new company to complete some of the former company’s projects and to use some of the small tools that had not been sold at auction. Since Tom had been in the business since 1983, he had developed many business contacts that helped him find enough work to last through the tough times.
One of Iacoboni’s first jobs to be completed was the Gudeisky Medical Building in Baltimore City for Turner Construction. This job required extensive knowledge and expertise of site preparation. The building was deep in the ground and connected to an existing building. This required extensive underpinning and sheeting of the existing building while at the same time excavating a deep hole for the proposed building. The contract included the sediment control, sheeting, underpinning, excavating, hauling off of excess dirt and utilities installation. The job was completed ahead of schedule and below budget. It also set the tone for expansion into performing a complete site package scope of work.
Iacoboni Site Specialists, even during the recession, was a profitable and growing company. As the economy grew, so did the company. In 1991, the company’s revenues came to about $600,000, but the following year saw them leap to $4.5 million. Currently, the company’s revenues are in the $20 million per year range and still growing.
The SBA loan was soon repaid and the Small Business Administration rewarded Thomas J. Iacoboni as the Small Business Person of the Year in 1998. A new bonding company, The Hartford, replaced Reliance who had financial problems and eventually declared bankruptcy. Banks that had previously rejected Tom’s requests for loans were now clamoring for the opportunity to work with a proven company, but the firm has stayed loyal to the bank that helped them get started in business and has not accepted their offers.
For nearly seventy-five years the Iacoboni name has been associated with the utility construction business in the state of Maryland.
The company’s equipment list is a full complement of over 200 heavy pieces of machinery, a long list of trucks and vehicles, and the small tools and equipment that enables each crew to perform to its maximum production in its area of work, which includes most of Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C..