For more than 30 years, Cusentino Ltd. has specialized in excavation and removal services for large public and private infrastructure projects within the province of Ontario. And if you see a Cusentino job site, chances are, a Hitachi excavator is working.
“My dad has always had a thing for Hitachi,” said Lucio Fortino, general manager of Cusentino. “Back when he operated machines for other companies, he ran Hitachi. We do have a mixed fleet, but a lot of our equipment is Hitachi. Our Hitachi excavators range from a 120 up to the 470 size.”
Lucio and his sister Susan Coletta, office manager, work alongside their dad, Cusentino president and CEO Ernesto Fortino, to continue the company’s success.
“My dad and I are best friends – most of the time,” Lucio laughed. “We can clash heads sometimes because we have different ways of doing things. But at the end of the day, we’re still family.”
Rapid transit built by Hitachi
Cusentino’s success has been rooted in several large city projects throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Currently, the company is involved with the high-profile Mississauga Transitway, a bus rapid transit (BRT) system project. Cusentino superintendents John Friesen and Joe Fiorini are overseeing the BRT, along with other company projects.
“We’re moving about 1.4 million cubic meters of earth,” Friesen said. “We began work on the BRT in September 2012, and we’re looking at an estimated completion date of June 2017.”
As a sub-contractor for Dufferin Construction Company, Cusentino is completing three segments of the BRT spanning about four kilometers (2.5 miles) from Eastgate Parkway and Fieldgate Drive to Eglinton Avenue and Renforth Drive.
“We’ve been lucky enough to work with Dufferin for about 15 years now, and we get hired for our quality of work,” Lucio said.
Within the last three years, Cusentino has purchased three ZX470LC-5 excavators, two ZX350LC-5 excavators and a ZX225LC-3 excavator to add to its fleet of Hitachi excavators, several of which are working on the BRT project.
“We have a preference for using Hitachi because we see how well the equipment performs for us on our jobs,” Lucio said.
Roland Parsons, Cusentino operator, couldn’t be happier with the new ZX470LC-5, which he named “Miss Tachi.” Parsons is meticulous when it comes to taking care of her and has one of the cleanest cabs you’ll ever see. He lines the cup holder with paper towels to catch any dripping condensation and has a brush to dust off any dirt that intrudes in the cab.
“I don’t want to sit in anything else,” Parsons said. “It’s fast, smooth, powerful and comfortable.”
Just like the operators take care of the equipment, Cusentino takes care of its operators as well.
“When we find good operators, obviously, we want to keep them,” Lucio said. “Not only are they experienced, many of them are like family. Roland’s been like a brother to me for the last nine years.”
Hitachi – and family – on site
One machine that consistently makes an appearance on Cusentino’s longer-term projects is a ZX450, and it comes with a high-level status.
“The 450 was our first Hitachi machine,” Lucio said. “It’s got 16,000 hours on it, and we keep it on site as a spare. Hardly anyone is allowed to operate it because it’s like an icon. It’s my dad’s baby.”
When it comes to new Hitachi machines, Lucio said the company’s purchasing decisions are based on more than just machine performance.
“It’s not only the performance of the machines, but also the service you get from the dealer,” Lucio said. “We’ve worked with Wajax for over a decade and hope to continue that relationship for many more years.”
While running a family business comes with its own dynamics, the Fortino family is looking forward to the future and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“For us, it’s all about family,” Lucio said. “You do everything you can for your family. I grew up in this business; we’re all a part of it.”
Cusentino Ltd. is serviced by Wajax Equipment, Mississauga, Ontario.