One contractor's down-to-Earth approach

Green Tier program is a good fit for Purpero

Jan. 3, 2012

Oak Creek - Earth work takes on a double meaning for C. W. Purpero Inc.

As a contractor specializing in grading, excavating, demolition and sewer and utility installation, its construction crews literally work in the trenches, and as President Phil Purpero said, they are "on the front line to protect wetlands and streams."

Purpero, whose grandfather Charles founded the specialty contracting firm in 1919, said the company has always been a friend to the earth.

"I think we've always had a good track record environmentally," he said.

So it's no surprise the contractor was accepted in the Department of Natural Resources' Green Tier program, a voluntary collaboration with the state agency that helps companies set higher environmental standards.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp commended C.W. Purpero for its sustainability ethic on job sites and said it was "building southeastern Wisconsin's economy and infrastructure with an environmental mind-set."

C.W. Purpero submitted an application for the program in March, and on Dec. 15, it was officially installed. Purpero said his company's acceptance marks the first specialty contractor in the program; two of the state's larger general contractors in Wisconsin, Miron Construction Co. Inc. and The Boldt Co., are also Green Tier members.

Purpero said his company works on both private and public jobs. It's done work on the Lincoln Creek flood-control project for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and the Discovery Learning Center for Marquette University's College of Engineering.

Purpero said establishing a relationship with the DNR provides some assurance to the company and its clients that it will be in compliance with ever-changing environmental regulation. As a Green Tier participant, C.W. Purpero has access to a "single point of contact," a DNR expert who can answer questions and guide the company when it encounters an environmental concern.

"It's a partnership now," said Purpero, a Muskego resident. "A lot of contractors look at it as a cat-and-mouse game. We've not really been that way.

"We actually, probably, will have more inspections on our projects, not less," he said.

Purpero said his company has long been an advocate of recycling and reusing construction material, including crushing pavement material on site to re-use in a project. The company also recycles industrial waste.

He said the company is environmentally aware because it's good for the planet and the paycheck.

"Whether it's in our own office trying to reduce our carbon footprint, those efforts all save money," Purpero said. In fact, as part of the Green Tier program, C.W. Purpero will need to develop an environmental management system, which will measure the impact of its conservation efforts.

"I think we've just always tried to follow the rules and come up with proactive ideas along the way," he said. "As a company, we get it. We understand the importance of how a company like ours can help the environment."

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