Concrete Company Rebuilds Hurricane-Damaged Homes

Published on November 2, 2020

With its fleet of Bobcat loaders and excavators on hand, NYC-based JFM Concrete crews repaired homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in half the typical time.

With its fleet of Bobcat loaders and excavators on hand, NYC-based JFM Concrete crews repaired homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in half the typical time. Read on to see how. 

Howling winds shook buildings and ripped apart houses while a forceful downpour flooded homes, streets and subway lines. Leaving an estimated $70 billion of damage in its wake, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on New York and surrounding states in the fall of 2012. 

Eight years later, John Cunha, president and CEO of JFM Concrete, is still helping to pick up the pieces left behind by the devastating storm. 

Founded in 1984, JFM Concrete does it all: concrete placement; residential, commercial and industrial construction; reinforced sidewalks; demolition; excavation and even snow removal. But it was the demolition and construction side of his business that proved essential after Superstorm Sandy hit the area.

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy recovery 

John got his start in concrete at an early age helping his dad with the family business. After a while, John decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and take on the business full-time. 

“It’s a Portuguese thing – everybody does concrete,” John says. “I started going with my father when I was 5 or 6 years old.” 

Not only did John join his father in the concrete business, but he also helped to broaden the services that JFM offered. As the company expanded into other aspects of the construction industry, it quickly became apparent that in order to continue growing and keep up with demand they would need to invest in equipment. In 1995, John brought in the company’s first skid-steer loader, a Bobcat® S185

“We worked smarter,” he says. “We were able to get stuff done in about half the time.” 

John eventually traded in his first Bobcat loader for a slightly larger, more powerful model. Since then, the company has grown its fleet to 20 machines – a mix of compact excavators, compact track loaders, skid-steer loaders, mini track loaders and a ToolcatTM utility work machine

“It was always Bobcat,” he says. “You can feel the difference in the way that they operate.”

Bobcat equipment helps crews reach tight spaces 

Demolishing hurricane-ravaged foundations and rebuilding them from the ground up is no easy feat, and it’s not something John takes lightly. 

“When Superstorm Sandy came, there was about four feet of water on the streets; it destroyed so many homes,” John says. “We meet every homeowner. Once we finish here and they can get their lives back together, they’re always super happy.” 

JFM Concrete does everything but lift the house when working on these hurricane-wrecked homes. John first calculates the new foundation height by adding two feet to the base flood height – which in some cases can total nine feet. Once the house has been lifted, the company typically starts by demo-ing the old foundation. They then pour new footings and new walls before backfilling for the new slab. Last but not least, they pour the new slab.  

“Since Sandy hit, everybody’s been busy,” John says. “Concrete is the first or second thing that needs to be done when working on these homes. There’s a huge demand.” 

With some houses covering more than 2,000 square feet, JFM Concrete often has to bring in an extensive amount of dirt to get the job done. A mid-size compact track loader, such as the T650, hauls soil from a pile outside to an area inside the foundation’s new walls. An MT85mini track loader then navigates the small interior spaces of the foundation to redistribute and grade the dirt. 

“Jobs like these usually take about a week and a half to two weeks from start to finish,” John says. “It’s something that we construct from scratch. It basically feels like we’re putting people’s lives back together.” 

The right equipment is essential for John and his team to tackle these large projects. One job alone required eight machines to remove sand from between houses in Long Beach. Thanks to the compact and agile Bobcat machines, John and his crew were able to work diligently to complete the cleanup process 

“Having the right equipment for the right job makes all the difference,” he says “The work gets done quicker, and people are able to get back into their homes faster.” 

Growing the concrete construction business with Bobcat equipment  

Since introducing Bobcat equipment to the business in 1995, John has been able to continue successfully growing the company that his dad started 36 years ago. 

“It used to take us a day to work on 20 to 30 piers, and now we can get the same amount done in a matter of two hours,” John says. “The Bobcat machines haven’t replaced any of my crew needs, but they’ve enhanced the crew I already have. As a company, we can accomplish so much more.” 

Over the years, John has added several services to the business, including demolition, snow removal and maintenance. 

“You can use one machine for everything,” he says. 

While John is content with the services JFM Concrete currently offers clients, he is excited about the future growth of the business. 

“The size of our operation continues to grow,” John says. “We’ll probably end up with two or three more Bobcat machines as we continue to expand. It’s kind of a thing. You don’t know when to stop growing. As long as there’s work out there, we’ve always gone after it. We’re still hungry.” 

The Bobcat dealer difference 

Not only has Bobcat equipment helped John grow the family business, but his relationship with his dealer, Bobcat of Long Island, has helped him continue that success. “I’ve been with Bobcat since day one,” John says. “I have so many machines, and if one’s down, my dealer will work hard to get me a new one quickly. It all comes down to having the right equipment for the right jobs. We’ve been growing ever since we got our first Bobcat machine.” 

Looking for an equipment dealership that will partner with your business? Find your local Bobcat dealer

More Recent Stories

View All Stories
Bobcat Partners with the NRPA for Park Restoration A Bobcat Zero-Turn Mower and Giant $50,000 Check Sit Near a Forest

Bobcat Partners with the NRPA for Park Restoration

Bobcat has partnered with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) by awarding five $50,000 grants to support park restoration, sustainability and enhancements.
Three Generations of Bobcat Engineers: The Asche Family Drew Asche operating Bobcat compact track loader.

Three Generations of Bobcat Engineers: The Asche Family

Discover the legacy at Bobcat with three generations of the Asche family men bringing innovation, advancements and dedication as engineers over the last 50 years.
Musician Randy Brown’s Ranch Management with Bobcat Equipment Randy Brown at His Ranch With a Bobcat Small Articulated Loader

Musician Randy Brown’s Ranch Management with Bobcat Equipment

Tune into how Western Colorado musician Randy Brown uses Bobcat equipment to navigate the balance between hard work and enjoyment, both on and off his ranches.
Athena Valanofeld Tackles Abandoned Acreage with CT2025 A Bobcat CT2025 Compact Tractor On A White Background

Athena Valanofeld Tackles Abandoned Acreage with CT2025

Unearth the story of Athena Valanofeld an Albuquerque Fire Rescue lieutenant and mother-to-be, tackling an abandoned acreage for her family with a Bobcat CT2025.
Highline Landscaping Stands Out with Bobcat Mowers Brent Mitchell of Highline Landscaping stands in a pose on a customer’s lawn near his Bobcat ZS4000 zero-turn stand-on mower.

Highline Landscaping Stands Out with Bobcat Mowers

Discover how Brent Mitchell, owner of Highline Landscaping achieves his wholehearted mission to serve people and deliver exceptional results with his Bobcat Mowers.
Serbian Basketball Scholar Builds American Dream with Bobcat Equipment Bobcat E35 Compact Excavator Studio Image on White Background

Serbian Basketball Scholar Builds American Dream with Bobcat Equipment

Stefan Mutavdzic, a Serbian basketball scholar, has relied on Bobcat equipment to build his American Dream successful career as the owner of a construction company.
Sagona Landscape Relies on Bobcat Equipment in New York City Bobcat MT100 Mini Track Loader Studio Image on White Background

Sagona Landscape Relies on Bobcat Equipment in New York City

Discover how the sibling owned and operated Sagona Landscape Contracting relies on Bobcat Equipment in New York City for transforming landscaping in tight spaces.
Business Owner Supports & Saves Community with Bobcat Loader Bobcat S570 Skid-Steer Loader with bucket attachment full of rocks

Business Owner Supports & Saves Community with Bobcat Loader

Experience TNT Enterprises owner Tom Smith’s big heart through community projects and saving his hometown of Teslin in Yukon, Canada with his Bobcat skid-steer loader.
Randy Riesland: Leading Bobcat Service Technician Expert Randy Riesland overseeing other Bobcat service technicians during a training session at a Colorado Bobcat training facility.

Randy Riesland: Leading Bobcat Service Technician Expert

Randy Riesland has worked as a technician with Bobcat for the last three decades. His expertise is sought out by other technicians in the industry.
The Bobcat Brand Evolution Bobcat PG40 Portable Generator Against a White Background

The Bobcat Brand Evolution

Discover the Bobcat Brand evolution of our product equipment lineup expansion with portable power, industrial air, forklifts, and turf renovation to accomplish more.

What’s Your Bobcat Story?

Taking on big, ambitious challenges is what being One Tough Animal® is all about. Tell us how Bobcat empowers or inspires you to accomplish more. Whether it’s at work, at play or in life, share your story with us.

Share Your Story