To the people who use it every day, underground infrastructure is very “out of sight, out of mind.” Warm a home with a gas furnace, turn a faucet on to wash your hands, flush a toilet, it’s all part of a daily routine. But to the men and women responsible for installing and repairing that infrastructure, it’s a system they’re proud of and a job they love to do. Their hard work helps life go on uninterrupted.
NUCA recognizes these hard-working contractors through its awards program, with the Ditchdigger of the Year being one of the association’s highest honors it awards every year. Presented annually at NUCA’s Convention, the Ditchdigger of the Year is awarded to a contractor member who has made a significant contribution to the association and the underground utility construction and excavation industry. With that, NUCA recently presented this prestigious award to Florentino Gregorio, a 30-plus-year industry veteran and President of Anchor Construction Corp.
“Florentino is one of those quiet leaders who’s fiercely loyal to NUCA, his chapter and his industry, but he doesn’t make a lot of noise about it,” says Jeff Rumer, the 2013 Ditchdigger of the Year recipient. “You don’t necessarily see his leadership at the microphone, but you will see it in his actions. What has impressed me most about Florentino in the years that I have gotten to know him is his intelligence and his willingness to jump at any chance to get involved.”
Gregorio’s passion for construction began when he was young, watching his father work as a stone mason throughout his childhood. As soon as he was able to work, Gregorio spent his summers lending a hand at different construction companies. He attended the University of Maryland and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1986. After he wrapped up his time in school, Gregorio started CNF Construction, a construction firm focused on a variety of utilities, as well as roads and bridges. In the early 2000s, Gregorio changed the company’s name to Anchor Construction. Today, Anchor Construction employs more than 200 workers and operates out of Washington, D.C.
As for his involvement with NUCA, Gregorio was first exposed to the association by attending its 2004 Convention in Orlando, Fla., after his colleague, Henry Osbourne, suggested it. From there, he was hooked and knew it was an organization he wanted to be involved in.
“I found it very beneficial, and it exposed me to a lot of different contractors from all over the country,” says Gregorio. “I really liked it and have been attending ever since. I try to bring at least four to five of my employees so they can reap the benefits and bring what they learn back to the other guys.”
One convention spurred into something greater for Gregorio, and he began getting involved in the association’s committees. He’s been particularly involved in the Educational, Safety and Contracts and Documents Committees.
“You get exposed to a lot of different things,” says Gregorio. “It just makes you a better businessman and more valuable to your colleagues.”
Gregorio was also a major component to the birth of NUCA of DC, and today it’s one the association’s largest chapters. He is also the all-time recruitment leader for Team NUCA since the program’s inception.
“Florentino was a critical part of building NUCA of DC, but he used his own strategies that he was comfortable with to make it happen,” says Rumer. “Instead of holding large meetings with 10 or 15 contractors, he would find the local industry leaders, invite two or three individuals to VIP lunches, and then pump them full of information and give them a sense of recognition, so they would say, ‘We need to get involved.’ Now that’s leadership.”
In 2013, Gregorio even took the reins as NUCA Chairman where he served for a year, visiting numerous chapters and working with NUCA National on advancing membership and important issues on Capitol Hill.
To learn more about Gregorio, click here.
Pam Kleineke is the Managing Editor of Utility Contractor.