There’s a new mix in town with Universal Concrete | News

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Between the destruction caused by two major hurricanes and delays in shipping materials due to the pandemic, many homeowners and businesses are only now beginning their major rebuilding projects. With a brand new, high-tech plant, Universal Concrete is ready to meet all concrete needs in St. Thomas.

Owner Eric Castro is a household name in the construction industry. Born and raised on the island, he got into the heavy equipment business straight out of high school in 1982 and opened Grade All Heavy Equipment in 2001. From there he grew extended to work as a general contractor and he now also owns Allied Heavy Equipment. Castro is expanding again with Universal Concrete, which he opened in late April.

“I just wanted something else to do, something relative to what I’m doing,” Castro said. “I saw the need for another concrete option.”

Castro and Jim McCoy, a former employee, began to do their homework on opening a concrete plant, but in the process McCoy died, and then the pandemic was in full swing. Castro shelved the project for over two years, but now with all the construction going on he felt the need was there and the time was right to pick up where they left off on the powerhouse project. concrete and started looking for a location for the plant. .

Castro was able to secure an acre and a half in the subbase area, but quickly realized that was not enough land to do what he wanted to do. He was able to lease additional land from the government, totaling six acres.

Meanwhile, Castro convinced Robert Mitrow, who was working with Island Roads, to become the general manager of the new factory. Mitrow’s first job out of college was at a precast concrete plant working in quality control.

“It’s kind of come full circle for me. That’s where I started and now I’m back in concrete almost 30 years after being in heavy highway construction like downtown rehabilitation projects and airport and highways federal, with Island Roads,” Mitrow said. “I am back in the field of concrete, which I have always appreciated. It’s constantly changing with different formulas and different mixes and creating different recipes for all these different needs and all the different types of concrete.

Castro and Mitrow knew each other from various construction projects. According to Mitrow, Castro and his team built the Waterfront project in St. Thomas, while Mitrow and his team at Island Roads paved it.

Quality control is a top priority at Universal Concrete. A lot of investment has gone into the design of the plant and the computer systems that control mixing and dosing. They monitor their concrete daily and use specific models and computer programs to develop the mix designs at the right strengths to ensure the concrete is affordable and durable. As materials arrive, they are tested immediately to ensure they meet the required specifications.

“I think it would be fair to say that we have by far the most modern factory in the Virgin Islands,” Castro said.

Mitrow is confident that there will never be a shortage of concrete due to their large silo capacity. They can travel 10 meters every three minutes, he said, which is 200 meters per hour. The two silos have a capacity of 155 tonnes. That’s 500 meters that they can produce non-stop if needed.

Concrete is sold by the cubic meter and customers can purchase as little as one meter or whatever is needed to complete the project. For larger jobs, Universal Concrete will visit the site first to ensure measurements are correct to avoid shortages or overages which could delay delivery for the next customer in line.

“That’s part of the whole vision here, with superior service from us so that we don’t put people in a bind,” Mitrow said. “I myself have been in this impasse, waiting for this concrete. It’s frustrating because you have crews scheduled, you have a gas station attendant waiting. We go the extra mile to help you measure your concrete to make sure we’re okay. »

Universal Concrete partnered with locally owned Unimix Solutions for the delivery, using their 10 trucks. Once an order is placed and a delivery time set, a truck can be loaded and on the road in 15 minutes. Early morning and after hours payouts can be arranged.

“We just want the general public to know that we’re here to help them with this phase of their build,” Castro said. “We have quality control technicians working for us. We do everything in house. Any information we can help you with, we are more than happy to help.

Universal Concrete is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit universalconcretevi.com or call 340-776-6600 for more information.

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