RUSH Construction Celebrates 30 Years

RUSH Construction, Inc. specializes in taking on the kinds of projects their competitors won’t touch. But what really sets the company apart from the rest is a reputation it has been building for 30 years.

Not only has RUSH never failed to deliver a project on time, but the Titusville-based, employee-owned company also is one of only two companies based in Florida to be named a Certified Green Contractor by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Inc. The company has also logged more than two million man-hours without any lost time due to injury and received numerous safety awards, including the highest safety recognition by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and ABC. RUSH has additionally received two significant honors from NASA – the Public Service Group Achievement Award and the first-ever Environmental Recognition Award at Kennedy Space Center.

Strategic Sabbatical

Although the company is celebrating its 30th anniversary, there is a new energy in the office these days as it seeks to diversify and add more commercial work to its portfolio. In this fresh approach, RUSH continues to reinvent itself as the industry evolves, and Founder and Chairman Eduardo Rabel jokingly refers to it as a “30-year-old startup” that has continued to grow over each year.

Founded in 1984, RUSH worked exclusively with the U.S. Air Force and Martin Marietta (which later became Lockheed Martin) for the first eight to 10 years of its existence. While the company was doing well, it reached a crossroad in 1996 when Rabel wanted to either improve the company or stop doing business entirely. His next approach was certainly unique, and some may say risky – he put three key employees on a one-year paid leave and put the company on sabbatical.

“The goal was to research the direction that I wanted to take in the future,” Rabel said. “I did not want the status quo. Even though we were very successful, I wanted to take the company to the next level.”

When the company returned to business in 1997, Chivers and three other new employees joined the existing team. RUSH began doing business with NASA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Delaware North. At that point, the work kept coming in, much of it repeat business, and the company seemed to have found its own little niche.

In the past several years, as government budgets have gotten smaller, the company has begun to diversify. It built the American Police Hall of Fame in Titusville, worked with Parrish Medical Center, Health First, Barn Light Electric and Ron Norris Honda, and has done 10 projects with Central Florida YMCA.

Changing Perspectives

RUSH’s biggest marketing tool has always been its customers, and that hasn’t changed to this day. “Our name is beginning to get out there more,” Chivers said. “We’re kind of the best-kept secret in Brevard. We always felt like we flew under the radar and really didn’t want to be out there too much.

“We’re undergoing a change. We’re taking the lid off and trying to educate people in Brevard (County) and Central Florida that we’re here. You haven’t heard of us before, but we’re not new.”

Taking on difficult projects – and delivering – certainly has its challenges and rewards. Chivers recalled a company staff meeting where he asked employees what RUSH Construction, Inc. actually did. When the stock answer was simply that the company “built stuff,” he gave them a different perspective to consider.

“We don’t build stuff,” Chivers said. “We build projects that allow rockets to go into space to deliver satellites. We build projects that allow NASA to put men in space. We build projects that allow the military to support the first defenders’ fight in overseas wars. That’s what we do. We build facilities that allow people to get well, and to improve their health. It’s kind of the way we prefer to look at things. Sticks and bricks are okay, but the stuff we’ve been fortunate enough to do and the markets we’ve been fortunate enough to be in … we make a difference. It’s very rewarding to build something and realize you were part of something bigger than just the sticks and bricks.”

As this new season of change and growth begins, RUSH aims to continue to build on what they’ve created over the past 30 years, throughout all the challenges and victories.