Editor’s Note: Chief Executive is kicking off a new annual tradition this year by celebrating every sizable (over $100 million in annual revenues) standalone company turning 100 in 2023. Check out the rest of this year’s class for tips, insights and, above all else, the inspiration you need to keep going….and going.
CONSTRUCTION & BUILDING MATERIALS
HQ: Torrington, Connecticut
Revenues: ~$200 million
It’s no secret that family businesses often don’t make it to the second generation, let alone the third—which makes O&G’s success story that much more impressive. The construction and building materials company, now the largest in the Northeast, is run by the third-generation: President David Oneglia, his brother and vice chair Raymond “Ray” R. Oneglia and cousin and vice chair Gregory Oneglia.
O&G has been able to beat the odds and survive multiple economic downturns because of the diversity of its operations, says Greg Oneglia, who runs O&G’s building construction business. “We came along in this generation, and we each had an aspect of the company to run ourselves,” he says. “So, day-to-day operations, nobody is looking over my shoulder. My cousins trust my judgment, and I trust theirs.”
When an important decision, such as whether to acquire another company, arises, all the family members come together to discuss and make those decisions collectively. O&G has continued to diversify the business in order to accommodate the fourth generation, seven of whom have chosen to come into the company.
“They always taught us that it’s okay to disagree as long as you sit down, analyze the disagreement, talk it through, come to a conclusion that you can all agree to and then support that decision going forward. That’s something the second generation instilled in us,” says Ray Oneglia. “The other thing is the thousands of loyal, dedicated men and women who have worked for the company; they truly made it what it is today.”
To ensure the company continues to have great people into the next century, O&G has been connecting with the state’s schools to find interns. Once they’re brought on, O&G’s leaders aspire to make them lifetime hires through a combination of competitive pay and a healthy dose of respect—something else they learned from their elder founders. “We’ve had people who worked with us for 40 or 50 years, and many of them have brought their sons or daughters into the company,” says Ongelia. “I think that says something about the way we’ve treated our people.”