Constructing A Sustainable Business
Don Facciobene, Inc. Celebrates 25 Years
His construction signs dot the landscape from Harris Corp. to Florida Tech and extending out to Kennedy Space Center. For the last 25 years, taking care of customers, a meticulous attention to detail and treating employees like he would want to be treated has been the formula that built Don Facciobene, Inc. (pronounced “Fatch-eo-bean”) into one of the premier commercial contractors on the Space Coast.
Facciobene admits that construction was in his DNA – his grandfather was in the business as was his father, who came to the area in 1962 as a painting contractor and opened the retail store, All-Florida Paint Decorating Center in Melbourne, now owned by Don’s brother.
Facciobene concedes that working was just a part of the family dynamic. “My life was divided into three activities. When I wasn’t in school or sports, I was working, every day and on weekends. Our only real personal time was after church on Sunday…after we mowed the lawn,” he commented smiling.
The Pursuit of Excellence
But there are no regrets; he still regards his father as his closest friend and sagest adviser. “My only regret is the advice my father gave me that I didn’t take; in the long-run he was usually right.” Facciobene saw the same disciplined approach in successful contractors and skilled tradesmen, which he observed in his father and his athletic coaches, an approach to life and the profession he found irresistible. “When I started out I would pull ‘all-nighters,’ like I was cramming for finals, before I submitted a bid. I saw myself as a student of every phase of the craft.” A pursuit he is relentless in following today.
Originally, Facciobene’s attraction to the industry caused him to aspire to be an architect, but when that didn’t pan out he switched his major, at the University of Florida, to business and never looked back. “That decision was difficult at first, but was one of the best I ever made. Being a contractor allows me to touch all aspects of the project and the business major gave me a well-rounded and strategic approach to the construction industry. It’s paid great dividends.”
Weathering the Storms
Unlike many contractors, Facciobene has been able to adapt and change in the face of a struggling market whose recovery he doesn’t see as eminent. “There were a few factors that enabled us to weather the storm. First, I am pretty conservative in my approach; debt is something that keeps me up at night, so I try to avoid it. Though we have a lot of money invested in equipment, we endeavor to stay debt free.”
That equipment and the fact that many of Facciobene’s employees do the work that is usually done by independent subcontractors, gives him a significant edge. “We’re able to think fast, move fast and adapt fast since we control most aspects of the construction process,” he explained confidently. In an industry where “time is money,” the edge of being able to provide most of the services from architecture to finish carpentry ‘in house’ is a decisive advantage.
Facciobene has also diversified into a nationally recognized expert in the construction of wooden bridges, both for vehicles and pedestrians. From landmark golf courses and parks in Chicago and throughout the south, to the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando, these unique, functional and aesthetically attractive bridges are garnering admiration.
Looking to the Future
Facciobene also seems to have a gift for recognizing and appreciating talent, which in turn creates a loyal and reliable workforce. One example is Adam Facciobene, his nephew, who is also a budding protégé. When Adam was just thirteen, Don went to him, confident that his nephew could build the computers needed to modernize the company. Facciobene took Adam to a trade show to buy the parts, which the teenager then assembled. When the computers didn’t work as expected, Adam knew the problem wasn’t in his design, but in the parts themselves, which he and Don took back to the dealers. Don smiles, “They weren’t taking Adam seriously because of his age; then he started explaining what was wrong and they immediately conceded their error and replaced the parts.”
Adam Facciobene, who is now 29, overflows with enthusiasm. “I have an aptitude and would be considered an expert in technical matters, but I just didn’t enjoy working in that field. But this I love; I get excited every day that I get to come here to work. I think that is infectious; we love what we do and therefore, we know our customers are going to love our finished product.”