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E.T. & L. Corp.'s Jennie Lee Colosi Talks About Women In Construction

1. Who are you as a business? What do you do and how many employees do you have? E.T. & L. Corp. is a woman-owned, heavy and highway contractor founded in 1945 and located in Stow, MA. We perform general contracting services to both the public and private sectors, constructing highways, bridges, site developments and landfills.

August 25, 2008

1. Who are you as a business? What do you do and how many employees do you have?

E.T. & L. Corp. is a woman-owned, heavy and highway contractor founded in 1945 and located in Stow, MA. We perform general contracting services to both the public and private sectors, constructing highways, bridges, site developments and landfills. Our projects range from $1 million to $35 million and our number of employees ranges from 70 to 170 depending on the time of the year.

2. How was it starting out as a woman in construction?

There were not many women in engineering when I was in college, and even today there are only 15 to 20 percent women in the industry. Sometimes being a woman in this industry was difficult when I would come across a person who did not know me or my capabilities. Once they realized that I was knowledgeable about our business, they began to respect me. We have quite a few women employed at E.T. & L. Corp., including civil engineers, field personnel and administrative personnel.

3. What products do you have and what services do you offer?

We are a general contractor that builds roads, bridges, landfills and performs some site work with our professional team.

4. When did you start the business and why?

Eastern Tree & Landscape started in 1945 and in the 1960s we changed our name to E.T. & L. Construction Corp. when we were doing more site and road building than landscaping. My father, Anthony, retired 20 years ago, and I accepted his responsibilities as president and became owner.

5. Where are you located and how far out do you service?

Our home office is in Stow, MA, and we set up project offices on sites throughout southern New England. We work primarily in Massachusetts, from Pittsfield to Cape Cod, and also in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

6. What do you do in the way of safety and green?

We perform our work as safely and efficiently as we can. Our people pride themselves on our fine safety record. We have very few incidents. E.T. & L. Corp. received excellence in safety awards for 10 years straight. We look at our work as both improving highway safety and the environment for generations to come.

7. What new products or processes have you been using?

At E.T. & L. Corp., we have invested in state-of-the-art GPS technology. These systems allow our superintendents to work with precision survey instruments in conjunction with our fully automated GPS controlled equipment, saving time, fuel and money on our earthwork projects.

8. Any tips for surviving in this economy?

We have been very fortunate to have a good backlog of work. Our concern is with material price escalations including steel, asphalt, concrete, gas, and diesel fuel. The small profit margins we have on our current projects, which some were bid 2 to 3 years ago, when prices were lower, will be diminished with these increased costs.

9. What is the best job you have ever done?

In recent years, our most exciting and notable project was the Sagamore Rotary Interchange project where E.T. & L. Corp. and Mass Highway Department worked together to remove the old rotary and replace it with a new interchange at the Sagamore bridge on Cape Cod. It was a pleasure working with the MHD and their consultants on this $36-million project to complete it "on time and on budget."

10. Why do you think that people should use your services rather than those of others?

E.T. & L. Corp. prides itself on being a professional heavy/highway contractor employing several licensed professional engineers as well as a professional land surveyor. We self perform most of our work using our vast fleet of modern heavy equipment to control costs and more importantly, to complete projects on time. Our investment in GPS technology and our implementation of this state-of-the-art technology to fully automate our bulldozers and graders has proven its value to E.T. & L. Corp. and our clients. We continually provide quality work to our owners for "a job well done!"

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